Laporte has changed Guardiola thinking
John Stones got the nod ahead of Aymeric Laporte to start Manchester City's Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, and did little wrong.
Last season that would almost certainly have kept him in the team for West Ham's visit on Sunday but instead he had to settle for a place on the bench as Laporte came back in; last weekend, both played as Dias sat it out.
Pep Guardiola showed last year that he had not problem in Laporte becoming unhappy after being regularly left out, but has responded to what he has seen to be an improved response from the Spanish defender, who is now earning the same opportunities as his teammates.
West Ham threat prompts Guardiola frustration at City defence
As good as Laporte has been, he was part of a City defence that earned plenty of shouting from Guardiola on the touchline as West Ham caused problems.
Ruben Dias gave Michail Antonio too much space early on around the penalty area and also put Kyle Walker under pressure with some sideways passes, Aymeric Laporte was booked inside half an hour for hauling Antonio down on the edge of the area, while Walker risked trouble by seeing a few passes intercepted by West Ham players on the halfway line.
Guardiola made sure his frustration at the slip-ups were heard by his defenders, and the players in turn responded. There were still some interjections from the sidelines in the second half but they were fewer as the defence tightened up and refused to give West Ham a sniff.
Groundstaff deserve praise
You could understand perfectly if City's head groundsman Lee Jackson was given man-of-the-match for this game - although he rightly would have pointed to a collective effort.
Heavy snowfall during the first half saw the ball running into difficulty among the pitch and the lines of the penalty area disappear from view. Jackson and his team were given an extra ten minutes to clear the snow at the break and did a magnificent job, transforming the pitch from white to green in that time to allow the rest of the match to go ahead.
Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker started on City's full-backs again, giving Guardiola security he has rarely had on both flanks.
Cancelo has been one of the most reliable players this season and is the only member of the squad to have started every league game. Walker isn't far behind, meaning that 11 of the last 12 matches in the competition have seen the pair take up their respective positions.
More rotation will be expected over the next few months, but for the moment Cancelo and Walker have got those positions locked down.