Manchester City is in an unstoppable form. They coasted past Tottenham 3-0 on the weekend.
This makes them 7 points clear of the nearest rivals Manchester United with a game in hand. The league looks all but over as City is on a 10 match winning streak.
Man City was a great team before Pep joined. Mauricio Pellegrini was in charge back then and won a league and two cups during his 3-year tenure. However, Pep has turned them into the greatest team in the premier league history. Man City have amassed 279 points in their previous 3 seasons, a testament to Citizen’s consistency under Pep. In four-and-a-half seasons with City, he has managed to keep an impressive 73% win rate in 175 league games. During which he has also lifted the premier league twice and won a total of 8 trophies.
Guardiola and City: The right match.
When Sheikh Mansour acquired the club in 2008, he cleared his intention of challenging for titles. He fully backed the managers during his tenure with signings. In return, City has been one of the most dominant teams in the premier league era. Whereas before joining City, Pep Guardiola had displayed his competence by winning league titles with Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Guardiola also had 2 champions league titles under his belt, which he acquired managing Barcelona. It was a perfect match for the Free-spending owner to acquire a manager of Guardiola’s caliber.
Pep Guardiola joined the Citizens at the start of the 2016/17 campaign. On his arrival, City had an aging squad with key players on high wages. During his 4 seasons at Ethiad, he managed to continuously rejuvenate the first team with signings. The club owner, Sheikh Mansour has always backed Guardiola with plenty of signings to improve the first team.
Pep has always enjoyed full backing from the club owners, who are not shy to dive into the market. Guardiola has always kept the high standards of performance and is responsible for improving a lot of players in that City side. Players such as Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, and John Stones have progressed by leaps and bounds under Pep’s tutelage.
Sterling, before arrival at Man City, was considered a youngster with raw athleticism. He also had the tendency to run on the wing due to his explosive pace but lacked the technique to put in a good cross. Pep has relentlessly worked on improving Sterling’s technical and mental game.
Sterling cuts inside now rather than going wide on the channels, making him a threat in the 18-yard box. In 2015/16, Sterling managed 7 goals in his first season. His goals and assist tally more than doubled since Pep’s arrival. Sterling was integral in City’s back-to-back title-winning 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons with 30+ goals+assist tally.
The resurgence of Stones.
John Stones signed for City from Everton in the summer of 2016 for a hefty fee of 50 million GBP. The player had high expectations set on him as a potential replacement for aging skipper Vincent Kompany. In his earlier days, Stones struggled to settle in and injury-ravaged his first few seasons at Ethihad.
Many critics were doubting his ability to stay fit and play at the highest level week-in week-out. But this season, John Stones has cemented the center-back partnership with Ruben Diaz and looks fully fit to play regularly. He has made 20 appearances so far this season for the Citizens across all competitions. Guardiola should be praised for remaining patient with the 26 years old England international who is repaying the faith put on him with brilliant performances this season.
3 times capped England International Phil Foden is an academy graduate from Man City. He broke through the first team in the 2017/18 season under Pep, making 5 appearances. Since then, he has been progressively given more chances. He is currently one of the first names on the team sheet this season. Phil Foden has made 29 appearances in all competitions and has scored 10 goals along the way. Pep replaced David Silva who left last summer with Foden, a locally grown lad who was being integrated into the squad for the past 4 seasons.
Fixing the CB dillemma
Pep Guardiola deserves plaudits for rebuilding the City team. Last season, City was bested by Liverpool for the league title. Free-spending City reinforced the right areas of the squad in the summer. Pep has successfully managed to fill the void left by the departure of Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, and David Silva.
Manchester City’s defense was shaky and Aymeric Laporte lacked the right center-back pairing last season. City added some depth by signing Ruben Diaz and Nathan Ake in the summer. John Stones has been partnering with Ruben Diaz this season for most of the games and Citizens look rock solid at the back.
Manchester City has the best defense in the league with only 14 goals conceded in 23 games this season. As Sir Alex Ferguson once said “Attack wins you games, defense wins you titles”
Is the league already over?
Man City is on course to lift the premier league title for the 3rd time in 5 years. No other teams in the league look capable to string a consistent performance to match City’s run. Perhaps, the runaway league leaders have to be wary of complacency. They must ensure that they do a professional job against Everton this weekend to extend the lead to 10 points.
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