Monday, December 11, 2017

Guardiola facing the biggest challenge of his managerial career

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has endured a difficult time in the Premier League

 

Now the dust has settled on Manchester City’s 4-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday, it is clear that there has been a major reaction to the game from the media and City fans alike.

The conclusions from the game from a City point of view seem to be:

1) Pep Guardiola is a poor manager

2) John Stones is overrated

3) Claudio Bravo is a poor goalkeeper

For me, only two of those things are true. I will explain why I believe that Guardiola is not the idiot that some people are making out on this very page.

Guardiola has not adapted to the Premier League

Any team can have a bad day at the office. However, Manchester City have been doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, which is the definition of insanity.

Guardiola is an intelligent guy. He has created great teams, even if he has inherited great players along the way. However, his style of football is not suited to the players he has at Manchester City or the Premier League.

Guardiola wants his team to play out from the back. However, you need the right defenders to be able to do that. Teams will get in your face in the Premier League. They will press the life out of you and in the end profit from poor defending.

Passing out from the back is great if the defenders can move the ball quickly and actually make progress. If they do not then it is just passing for passing sake, which infuriates fans.

Tottenham passes the ball out from the back under Mauricio Pochettino. They have players that pass it out with purpose like Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier. They also have the excellent Hugo Lloris in goal.

The difference between City and Spurs is that the side from north London mixes up their styles of play occasionally as well. Pochettino is a bright young coach and is not as rigid as his former rival in Barcelona. Guardiola’s stubbornness is holding his teams back at the moment.

Poor in the transfer market

I am a fan of Guardiola’s, but not unable to see the massive flaws in his team of late. A part of that is poor recruitment. The signing of John Stones made sense in the summer and I could even see the logic of City signing Claudio Bravo.

Stones is undoubtedly talented, but from the very early stages of his Everton career he was built up to be ‘the next Rio Ferdinand’ and compared to England great Bobby Moore. The lad is 22-years-old, but maybe the hype has gone to his head.

The move to City was supposed to lead to some great learning experience under Guardiola. Instead, the youngster is still making the same mistakes he did at Everton. It’s slightly ironic that he could have stayed at Everton and learnt from a legendary defender in Ronald Koeman.

For me, Stones could become a good player in the future. However, he may not live up to expectations of some who have praised him in the past.

Bravo seems like a poor summer signing. The Chilean was decent at Barcelona, but due to the Catalan giants dominating most of their games we never really got to see his keeping skills that much. At City we have and they seem non-existent.

A goalkeeper’s first job is to keep the ball from going into the net. He is failing miserably at that at City. No doubt Guardiola will have to bite the bullet and look for a new ‘keeper in the summer. That is if Guardiola is still at City in the summer.

In reality, Guardiola has never been great in the transfer market. In the summer he continued that trend with the signing of Bravo in particularly.

Biggest challenge of his managerial career

Manchester City are now odds of 12/1 to win the Premier League title this season. The Citizens started the campaign as the favourites to be crowned champions. As Guardiola has found out the hard way the Premier League is an unforgiving place.

Guardiola seems like a rabbit caught in the headlights at the moment. He has never been in this situation in his managerial career. Luckily for him, it seems he is unlikely to be sacked, as many still believe he is the best football coach in the world.

However, if he keeps making the same mistakes as he has done so far in England the fans or the clubs owners will not be very forgiving.

Guardiola now has to knuckle down and find a solution to City’s problems, before it is too late and the Citizens are not even in the Champions League next season.

Is Pep Guardiola still the right man to lead Manchester City to glory?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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