Pep’s oiled City machine is not too far from being Europe’s best
Change is everywhere. A Ronaldo-less Real Madrid whose reins Zidane left for Lopetegui, a star-studded Barcelona figuring out their style and philosophy, a Juventus adjusting to life with Ronaldo but without Gigi Buffon, laughable Manchester United, Bayern Munich also adapting to the new manager in Niko Kovac and many more countless examples. Who then is the new king of football or rather who is lurking to be? Here are three fast reasons detailing why I think Manchester City is going to give many teams a run for their money and outcompete the best.
1. Pep Guardiola
It’s safe to say that the Spaniard has stamped his authority at the Etihad heading into the third year at the club. His players understand him more and will be more eager now to listen to his ideas after witnessing just how much greatness he can cook up, racking up a record 100 Premier League points in the 2017/18 title-winning season. Pep has won it all with Barcelona and Spain but still remains hungry for any kind of trophy, which happens to be the same hunger and energy he transfers to his players, approaching every match as a final and staying focused without growing complacent. An ideal recipe for repeated success. More than his personal intelligent football mind and passion, Pep has just the right staff to complement him. In particular, his assistant, Mikel Arteta is reported to be Guardiola’s secret weapon. When the going gets tough, Pep is never shy to take a back seat and allow Mikel to express himself for the benefit of the team. Just recently, Mikel Arteta’s plan for Mendy and Sterling is reported to have led to City’s second goal against Arsenal in their 2-0 win in the opening match of the campaign.
In a nutshell, I think the rapport and understanding that he has with his players is second to none. It’s the kind that makes a team Europe’s best when combined with quality players who have a fantastic attitude and experience.
2. Squad depth and experience
Manchester City’s bench over the weekend in matchday 2 of the Premier League comprised of 50 million fullback Kyle Walker, 60 million winger in Riyad Mahrez, the 2017/18 PFA Young Player of The Year in Leroy Sane, the club’s second top goal scorer in the previous campaign in Raheem Sterling, former Barcelona goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo and 2014 FIFA World Cup finalist Nicolas Otamendi. It’s not like they were resting their main players, the first eleven of that day played and brushed aside Huddersfield, 6-1 as if it were that easy, they just make it look easy. That City team that consisted of two world cup winners, finalists, semi and quarter-finalists. Even of the just ended 2018 FIFA World Cup. They have enough winners to win anything in that squad who have the years, talent and passion on their ‘rap sheet.’ The agonizing loss to Liverpool in last year’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final loss to Liverpool would have taught them plenty and will be undoubtedly gunning for the UEFA gold medal this campaign. Man to man, they can match any European team right now, just pick and choose any of their players at random.
3. An ever-evolving playing style and identity
Pep’s arrival at City did not only commence the reformation of the Manchester club but football as a whole in England. Guardiola made the attractive way of playing football great again after Chelsea and Leicester had won the EPL title employing quite defensive tactics. Now, everyone wants to play. Chelsea parted ways with Antonio Conte for that reason and acquired Sarri, Liverpool continues to enjoy Klopp’s talents, Everton sacked Sam Allardyce for the same boring football, Arsenal is learning to do the same with Unai Emery and Mourinho’s Manchester United seem to be ailing as a result of refusing to dance to the new song. Man City’s style is not only fun to watch but delivers results by reason of it being a system where he can plug and play any of the players who are happy to delivers exactly as per the prescribed requirements. When many teams are struggling to maintain a certain identity and character as a team, we see Pep do it and dynamically so. Look at Benjamin Mendy for example, in these first two matches of the season, he has been adopting a hybrid left-back, wingback/ central midfielder position, something thrilling at the sound of it. Wait until you watch him play. Many thought the champions will falter without the injured DeBruyne but Bernardo Silva is stepping up also bringing in a new dimension to the squad. City are stable and continuously innovating. They will be hard to stop, quite hard to deny anything.
How far do you think they will go this season? Share with us in the comment box below.