Has Guardiola Struck on the Perfect Tactics to Win Major Silverware this Season?

5 Nov

This is a post written by Ben Danzig.

When Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would be taking over from Manuel Pellegrini prior to the 2016-17 season, many people thought that this would mean instant success. After all, the 46-year-old had, up to that point, only missed out on one league title in his seven seasons of managing. In that time he had also claimed the Champions League twice, along with numerous domestic cups. It turned out that things weren’t that simple, but now, a few months into the 2017-18 campaign, it looks as though things are beginning to click for the Catalan.

Manchester City have started off Guardiola’s second season at the helm in some style, and have recorded the best ever start to a Premier League season by any team. The Citizens claimed 28 points from their opening ten games, with a goal difference of +29. This is even better than the start they had in their 2011-12 title-winning campaign under Roberto Mancini, when they had the same points tally at that stage, but with a goal difference of +28.

City also have a perfect record in Europe, with four wins from four in the Champions League group stages. They got to that point in some style as well, with only three goals conceded for their 12 scored. With Italian giants Napoli and high-flying Shakhtar Donetsk also in Group F, City’s domination has been quite impressive. It’s early days, but the signs suggest that Guardiola’s super attacking side have what it takes to record their best ever finish in the ultimate club tournament.

Last season, Guardiola was criticised for rotating his team too much and not settling on a preferred combination of players. It’s true that in the recent past, English top flight winners have got there by using well-settled squads. You only need to look at reigning champions Chelsea or recent winners Leicester City as evidence of that. Guardiola still has a penchant for swapping players around, but seems to have realised that he needs to keep a strong spine of ever-present players in the starting XI, such as Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, and Nicolas Otamendi.

Guardiola is also getting the best out of his young talent, with players like Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane enjoying the best form of their careers. Sane didn’t even feature for Germany in the last World Cup when his nation lifted the title. But if he carries this form on he will have a great chance of making the cut for the reigning champions, who are 5/1 in the international football betting to win the tournament again next summer.

In addition to the speedy wingers causing constant danger down the flanks, Guardiola also has two of the hottest strikers in football at his disposal in Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. Working out a way to keep both strikers happy through rotation in different tournaments and occasionally playing them together has been the Spaniard’s masterstroke this season. With both the South Americans happy, they will continue to fire on all cylinders, and could propel City to some major silverware for the first time since 2014.

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