What Pep should do next
City boss must fix defence and stick to a formation to revive fortunes
Manchester City are lurching towards a crisis, thanks in large part to Pep Guardiola.
Here are three areas where the club must improve or the wheels will fall off by Christmas.
1 BACK FOUR OR BUST
Of all the differences between Chelsea and Manchester City, the most obvious is their respective use of a back three.
Their contrasting fortunes offer categorical proof that tactics are not worth the whiteboard they're written on without the right personnel.
Gary Cahill, David Luiz and are experienced centre backs while Cesar Azpilicueta is converted from fullback.
While the Spaniard is not a specialist central defender, he is a utility player who has previously adapted his game to switch from right back to left back and now seems capable of making the same adjustment to thrive in the centre.
In their nightmare at Leicester, however, Guardiola sent out one erratic centre back and a couple of ageing fullbacks doing a dreadful impression of professional defenders.
John Stones remains an enigmatic, sweet-passing centre half who finds the mundane task of defending almost beneath him.
Bacary Sagna is a 33-year-old free transfer waiting to happen and Aleksandar Kolarov confused himself for a pre-Christmas elf.
His job appeared to be to entertain the kids with a number of jolly japes and pratfalls until Santa showed up.
His tendency to concede possession allowed Jamie Vardy to break free for his first two goals.
Even Watford, who visit City tomorrow morning (Singapore time), must harbour ambitions of benefitting from the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.
It's a back four or bust for Guardiola.
2 FIND A FORMATION AND STICK WITH IT
No one doubts Guardiola's tactical acumen. Both Barcelona and Bayern Munich evolved a different playing style under his leadership.
But the English Premier League is a different, almost simpler beast.
Tactical consistency generally guides teams towards silverware.
Leicester City's fast, reliable 4-4-2, Chelsea's 4-2-3-1 under Jose Mourinho Mark II (and 4-3-3 under Mourinho Mark I) and even Manchester United's original wingers under Sir Alex Ferguson were examples of simplicity being genius.
Players and patterns that largely remain unchanged benefit most.
Ferguson, Mourinho, Claudio Ranieri and Arsene Wenger were all notable for how little they tinkered in title-winning years. Consistency is king.
But take City's farce at Leicester.
The line-up might have been a 3-1-2-1-3. Or perhaps it was a 3-4-3, or even a 3-1-6 when City dominated possession in the second half.
And, if anyone has a clue what Pablo Zabaleta's role was, do send in your answers on a postcard.
He was not wide enough to be a winger, not central enough to be a holding midfielder, not forward enough to support the attack and not withdrawn enough to help Sagna.
Instead, he granted Leicester the freedom of their city to advance. Guardiola might wish to consider picking a formation and sticking to it.
3 PEP'S STUBBORNNESS PROVING A PROBLEM
Love or loathe the British public (and their media), but they will indulge a preening peacock until he snipes back or appears ungrateful.
Guardiola runs the risk of his adopted country turning on him quicker than it did on Mourinho.
Even the Man United manager acknowledges the right to be questioned after chastising defeats.
But Guardiola seems too thin-skinned, taking puerile pot-shots at the English game's obsession with tackling and second balls.
He's suffering his worst start to a league campaign. City have taken just 30 points from 15 games, with three defeats already on the board.
So his underlying suggestion that those associated with English football are somehow beneath him and his high-minded principles insults the intelligence of his audience.
The need for urgent change exists, but it's not the British public mired in their own stubbornness.
City are not reinventing the wheel, technically or tactically.
If there's any dogma, it's in the dugout.
EPL football isn't merely about tackles and high balls. It's about winning.
Until Guardiola fixes his defence, he won't have one before the British public.