visayanbraindoctor: In spite of opinions above, I think Carlsen is playing well within his normal game. IMO he has this style:
1. Set up a sound pawn structure. If possible set this up as a classic pawn-occupied center. If not, make sure it is sound anyway.
2. Maneuver pieces behind and around this sound pawn structure, always prepared to grab more space, and create and target opponent's weaknesses, exploit any situational development that can lead to an offensive. Sometimes this entails maneuvering around his first rank, but Carlsen isn't adverse to this.
3. Maintain accuracy at all costs. Exploit any inaccuracy on the oppoenenty's part, especially those that create new weaknesses.
4. Be materialistic as possible. No speculative sacrifices. Grab any material that looks grabbable and if the opponent does not seem to have a clear refutation.
Carlsen IMO does the above in this game quite well.
He starts his middlegame by making 5(!) Queen moves out of 11.
13. Qc2 h6 14. Rad1 Bd7 15. a3 Rc8 16. Nc3 a6 17. Qc1 Re8 18. Rfe1 Bf8 19. Bf4 b5 20. Qd2 b4 21. axb4 Nxb4 22. Ne5 Nxd3 23. Qxd3 a5 24. Qf3
Note he slides his Q back to the first rank and then slowly transfers it up to the f3 square mostly in little one square creeping moves, where it can target Black's Queenside. Few chess players have the patience for such a maneuver.
He does this behind a central pawn. Granted it's isolated but it's a classic 'strong' IQP, which Tarrasch surely would approve of.
As is his norm, Carlsen plays conservatively. He sees he retains an advantage by mobilizing his Rook into the 3rd rank, with the option to shift it to g3 and into a direct attack on the Back King, while at the same time defending his weak c3 square.
AFAIK this in fact is the classic <positionally correct> way of playing.
In marked contrast, a Marshall, Alekhine, Keres, or Kasparov, etc.. IMO would have batted out
in an instance. I've played scores of their games and nearly every time they attain a similar position expect them to sack in order to expose their opponent's King. It's just their style. It is NOT Carlsen's style.
The game continues with Bxc3 26. bxc3 Ba4 27. Ra1 Bc2 28. h3 Bf5 29. g4 Bh7 30. c4 Nd7
Aha, there's a chance for a pawn grab!
Carsen grabs the pawn (as usual). He nearly always does.
31. Nc6 Qf6 32. Nxa5
It looks like Black now has increased piece activity as compensation.
32.. Nb6 33. c5 Rxc5!
Yikes, the pawn is pinned!
In retrospect perhaps declining the pawn and playing 31. c5 was called for.
I think Carlsen simply missed this move in his calculations. He forgot he had a loose Rook on a1. Had this pin not existed, White would have a clear and IMO winning advantage. There would be no talk about Carlsen in playing weakly above as he scores a routine victory over Nepo.
But the pin exists.
Therein lies Carlsen's only relative weakness. It's rare but he sometimes misses tactical shots, probably at a rate comparable to any other top level master.
Playing with the above style (#1 to #4 above), Carlsen IMO is nearly impossible to beat positionally. I haven't seen him positionally outplayed and beaten for the longest time. All his recent losses have been due to missed tactics.
Thus, food for thought for his next Challenger. If you want to win against Carlsen, perhaps it's best to deploy sharp openings and consistently try to steer the middle game into tactical positions. I still think Carlsen will win his next match, but the above strategy may be worth a try.
34. dxc5 Qxa1+ 35. Kh2 Qxa5 36. Qc6?
Dang but Carlsen misses another tactical shot! He should have taken the Knight, and the game would be drawish. This time it's fatal.
0 - 1
Going back to his style, Carlsen may arguably have the most positionally correct style of all Word Champions. So OK, doing #1 to #4 above from opening to endgame in game after game will bore many kibitzers to death (admittedly such a <swampy> style of play bores me too) but it's quite effective and very difficult to play against. Until someone manages to solve it, Carlsen will remain Champ for a long long time.