Arrogance or honest mistakes from Pep Guardiola?
If Pep Guardiola was an inexperienced, unknown and incompetent manager, then we would not be having this conversation right now. However, Pep Guardiola has one of the most successful managerial CV’s in the business, so why has his worldwide dominance seemingly not translated over to Manchester City?
Let’s start with Manchester City’s most recent 4–2 loss to Leicester City. This result epitomised a sequence of events that have not necessarily created doubt over the Man City manager, more so highlighted that papering over the cracks may not work. Guardiola’s back four consisted of Pablo Zabaleta, John Stones, Aleksandar Kolorov and Bacary Sagna, a make-shift back four with Pep trying to implement a high line which let alone is difficult with accomplished defenders. From Leicester’s point of view it’s pretty undermining, let’s not forget we are talking about the champions here, who despite their poor start to the season should not be taken lightly. Is Pep Guardiola’s ego that demeaning to arrive at the King Power and not anticipate a defensive disaster? Quite frankly it is ludicrous, and unsurprisingly was thoroughly taken advantage of by none other than Jamie Vardy. As a side note, for the young strikers out there, Jamie Vardy’s performance was a perfect example of how to just hang on to the last man, get in behind and punish defenders. Yes, City showed a little bit of spirit to grab two late goals, but the damage was done, it’s a fact; defence wins games. For City to concede four goals and look defensively all over the place is very concerning, especially for their aspirations of winning the league.
Detracting from the Leicester game, there has been a culmination of things that have built up to produce this egotistical viewpoint directed at Guardiola. For instance, Claudio Bravo, supposedly brought in for his superior footwork and distribution over ‘Mr. Man City’ himself Joe Hart. Guardiola’s philosophy involves having his goalkeeper starting majority of the attacks which he has incorporated into his management style everywhere he has been. However, he is now in the Premier League, a whole new proposition, Guardiola does not have the same luxury of teams over-paying their respect by sitting back and allowing Pep’s teams to play with relative ease. Bravo has been making numerous mistakes ever since his arrival which has been down to teams realising that his so called ‘better feet’ are not as great as they have been made out to be. Pep Guardiola would have never encountered a division where any team on the day can beat anyone, which is probably why he underestimated Leicester, with that match a prime example of Guardiola’s arrogance.
The success that Pep Guardiola has achieved cannot go unnoticed, he has built a reputation like none other whilst sticking to his own, unique style of play. It is of course very early days for life in the Premier League for Guardiola which is why City fans are most likely being patient at this current juncture, not expecting an immediate transformation, but secretly City fans are expecting Pep to work his magic and land City another title.
Pep’s arrogance or his mistakes, leaves Manchester City in fourth spot chasing a rampant Chelsea side. Whether it be minor or major changes, Guardiola does have to act quickly, January signings perhaps, or does he place his faith in the current players? Whatever path he takes will be crucial in determining the outcome of what has already been a fascinating premier league.