We continue our series profiling City's historic 2018/19 Fourmidables squad by focusing on key central defender Aymeric Laporte.
Squad number: 14
Season's stats - Total appearances: 52
Premier League appearances: 35
Total Premier League passes: 2998
Premier League tackles: 42
Premier League goals: 3
Total goals: 5
Total assists: 3
There were numerous standout moments for Aymeric Laporte, who emerged as one of the supporting rocks on which City’s astounding success was anchored.
The elegant French central defender produced a series of standout individual performances over the course of the season and contributed three crucial league goals into the bargain
Striking headers in our away victories at Everton and Brighton were both hugely important but, in retrospect, Laporte’s first-ever goal for the Club away at Wolves early in the campaign served as a real standout moment.
A late-August assignment away at newly promoted Wolves proved an entertaining but tricky affair with Nuno Espirto Santos’s side illustrating the verve and tenacity that was to serve them so well in their first season back in the top flight.
And the Molineux fans were all fired up when Willy Boly bundled in a goal 10 minutes into the second half – albeit with a suspicion of handball.
It was the first test of character for Pep Guardiola’s side and Laporte – as he was to do so often over the subsequent course of the season – answered the call.
With 20 minutes left, the Frenchman rose superbly to head home Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick to ensure City left the Midlands with a share of spoils.
Given that we would eventually go on to win the title by a single point from Liverpool, it was to prove the most crucial of contributions.
There are many candidates for the most inspired signing of Guardiola’s first three years at City, but the capture of the elegant French central defender must be right up there.
Since his arrival from Athletic Bilbao in the January 2018 transfer window, Laporte has literally been a tower of strength in City’s back line.
For starters, he possesses all the attributes one looks for in a top class modern-day central defender.
A powerful presence and never afraid to put his body on the line to aid his side’s cause, Laporte is also supremely comfortable and assured in possession with excellent passing skills, a fact borne out by stats that reveal he made a staggering 2,998 passes during our defence of the league title.
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Add to that his ferocious ability in the air, formidable pace and the fact he can also be deployed at left-back and it only further illustrates his importance to the cause.
Laporte, who turned 25 earlier this week, has also developed the happy knack of contributing crucial goals such as his header which broke the deadlock in our 2-0 win at Everton in February, not to mention the goal that gave us the lead in our title-clinching 4-1 win at Brighton on the final day of the season.,
The fact that he started 35 league games – and would arguably have started all 38 but for injury – says it all.
The only conundrum surrounding Laporte is why he still hasn’t been capped at full international level given his quality and incredible consistency.
Every City fan, however, are more than happy to have Aymeric on board.