Manchester City have dropped in form recently has not been a coincidence with Fernandinho absence, says pundit Paul MersonThe Brazilian defender has been in and out of the City team this month as he struggles with a thigh injury.Notably, Fernandinho was sidelined in City’s last two games which ended in defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City and is a doubt for Sunday’s showdown at Southampton.After manager Pep Guardiola missed out on signing Jorginho in the summer, Paul Merson believes City need to start considering replacing the 33-year-old Fernandinho.“He didn’t play against Crystal Palace or Leicester – and they lost both games,” Merson wrote on his Daily Star column.“He reads the game and breaks up play, and he’s the only player they have who can do it.“City played John Stones there against Palace and they let in three goals. They played Ilkay Gundogan there against Leicester and still lost.“Fernandinho is the first name on the teamsheet for a reason. They can go without David Silva or De Bruyne or Aguero for a few weeks. But they can’t do without the Brazilian.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“I said months ago they needed another player like him, an N’Golo Kante type. Fernandinho makes them tick and you need someone like that in your team.“They need another player like him. He is 33 so he’s not going to be playing every week for the rest of his career.“I understand why Guardiola tried to sign Jorginho because he’s a similar player. He reads the game, presses well, and always keeps it simple.LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Jorginho of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge on September 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)“That is so valuable. I watch other players who play there and they do that for 20 minutes and then they get over-confident and start trying to spray 40-yard Hollywood balls everywhere.“Jordan Henderson sometimes does that. But not Fernandinho. He’s switched on for 90 minutes, he knows his role, and he does it to the letter.“He has been a massive, massive miss, and he’s the reason City lost those games. It would not have happened if he was fit. He runs the show.“They need him back ASAP or they will be out of the title race and forced to concentrate on the Champions League instead.”City have fallen down to third-place in the Premier League after three defeats in their last four games.