Heading into the final straight of the season, Manchester City has already essentially won the Premier League with almost everyone anticipating the inevitable and understanding it is a mere matter of time before the Premier League leaders mathematically seal the title. Impressive performances so far from Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and many more have certainly made life easy for Pep Guardiola but despite his incredible track record at the clubs he has managed, the debate continues about whether his success is down to his tactical masterclass or simply a matter of spending big and coaching already talented players.
Manchester City have been playing football like no other English club has in years, if ever, and Pep Guardiola is leading the side to their first Premier League title since 2014. Having joined the club prior to the 2016/17 season, Guardiola was seen as the favourite to win the Premier League that season but an Antonio Conte masterclass with the new 3-4-3 formation, lead Chelsea to win yet another Premier League title. After failing to bring back any silverware that season, Guardiola was subject to large amounts of criticism with many labelling him as a fraud and putting his success down to playing in easy leagues with the best teams.
Manchester City has spent big money recently and so far at Manchester City, Guardiola has already spent an estimated £450,000,000 on 19 players averaging out to around £27 million per player. Big money deals for John Stones, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, Ederson, new signing Aymeric Laporte and many more have all helped Guardiola build an unstoppable side. Manchester City currently remains top of the Premier League after 30 games with just three draws, one loss and are comfortably 16 points ahead of their bitter rivals at Old Trafford. With these large prices, comes a large expectation for excellent performances and Manchester City have not disappointed in the slightest and having already brushed the other top 6 teams aside with their 5-0 and 4-1 demolitions of Liverpool and Spurs as well as 2-1 and 1-0 away wins at United and Chelsea, they are no doubt going to be crowned as the League winners. So why are people saying that this man is not a tactical genius?
The two main reasons that the critics come up with are that he pays to win games with ludicrous transfer fees and that he only coaches the best teams in the league. You only have to look at other clubs in similar situations to understand the hypocrisy of these claims. This can not only be seen in the Premier League but also abroad. Firstly, Mourinho has spent over £300,000,000 at Manchester United which is noticeably less than Guardiola but is still ludicrous spending and considering he’s also got Sanchez and Ibrahimovic on ridiculous wages despite no transfer fee also reflects poorly on the Portuguese coach. Yet still, Guardiola has bought 12 more players meaning that Mourinho is averaging a transfer fee of £58 million for every player he buys while Guardiola only spends £27 million on average per player. So why does Mourinho not have the same success as Guardiola, he’s 16 points behind in the league and is unlikely to win any silverware which Guardiola already has done and should be expected to bring home the Premier League any time soon.
Secondly, Guardiola’s best performers this season aren’t necessarily players that he bought. Kevin de Bruyne is having the best season he has ever had and was already at the club before Guardiola came, as were Raheem Sterling and David Silva. Otamendi is another player who has stepped up under the guidance of the Spanish manager and the players that he does sign are performing much better than they were at their previous clubs. Ederson has put himself amongst the league’s best, Leroy Sane is performing exceptionally well for a player of his age and of course, Gabriel Jesus is rising through the ranks to become one of the league’s best forwards. Guardiola’s tactics are clearly making these players perform at the level they’re performing at and it is highly likely that if any other manager in the world was coaching this City side they would not have the same success that Pep is having.
Furthermore, Guardiola’s star-studded team is having much more impressive results than the other European giants in the leagues with less competition. Zidane’s £100+ million spending spree at Real Madrid has certainly paid off in the past with his successive Champions League wins, however, questions certainly should be asked as to why he currently sits 3rd in the league having dropped points in almost 40% of his games this season.
So, I think it is very important that people understand that the success that Manchester City is currently experienced is not down to their spending or their impressive players prior to the new manager’s arrival. It is mostly down to his tactical abilities as a football manager that are superior to any other manager that is currently coaching. By no stretch of the imagination is Guardiola a fraud nor should he have ever been labelled as one and the only reason that he coaches the best clubs is because he is the best manager and has proven that, there’s a reason he’s not coaching Sunderland and it isn’t because they aren’t backed up by wealthy owners.
Has Guardiola finally proved his doubters wrong? Let us know…