We are almost at the end of Match-Day 10 of this season’s Barclays Premier League. The early jitters and blistering starts are all settling down in its own merits. The supposedly “Top Six” are now occupying the top six positions in the table. In amongst all these things, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are flying with 28 points from the available 30. They are the early pace-setters in the league. We will review their season so far and how Pep is getting the best out of his players this year.
Good Summer Signings: –
Way before the end of last season, Guardiola was not happy with his fullbacks and attacking depth. The first thing City did in the summer was to buy quality players Walker and Mendy with Danilo as a backup. The attacking depth was increased with the purchase of Bernardo Silva and the likes of Sane, Jesus and Sterling are settling well with the long-stays de Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
In addition, getting the likes of Delph, Yaya Toure and Gundogan back to squad fitness adds to the strength in depth in midfield. Among these new things, a new goalkeeper was a must for Pep’s style. Getting Ederson has certainly brought more stability in their defence and the Brazilian’s feet is much better than predecessor Bravo.
In-Form Forward Line: –
The one thing Guardiola was very sceptical of was the lack of quality in finishing off chances last season. They created many chances with good build-ups and weren’t able to finish off. This was the main reason of them dropping points in games where they should win easily. The signing of Gabriel Jesus was done to add more finishing touches to their overall game.
This season though, the jigsaws are fitting in the right place. Guardiola has finally found the right formation by playing de Bruyne and D. Silva in creative number 8 positions. The chances created by them are now well finished with Aguero and Jesus in form. The goals are also coming from wide areas with Sane, Sterling and Bernardo Silva in good enough scoring form.
Read More: – Pep Guardiola’s Juego de Posicion (Positional Play)
Defensive Stability: –
The other jigsaw of a perfect team is defensive stability. Apart from goal-scoring, City have conceded just 6 goals in 10 games with 6 clean sheets. This is a remarkable turnaround with the signings of fullbacks and goalkeepers becoming more and more handy. They kept 12 clean sheets throughout last season with a high 1.03 goals conceded per match.
The good form of Stones and Otamendi is vital in this mix too. In the absence of Kompany, the duo were doubted to do the job defensively. They are well shielded by Fernandinho whose presence also allows D. Silva and de Bruyne to do their jobs attacking-wise. John Stones needed a good start this season to prove his doubters wrong. He had a weak first season with Guardiola.
Pep getting it right Tactically: –
We all know Pep Guardiola is one of the best when it comes to tactically set up teams in the best manner. He struggled last season with long-ball tactics of English football and was also unlucky with his squad then. The summer was very important as he got the players he wanted and now getting the best out of them.
Pep started the season by playing 3 at the back with high wing-backs Mendy and Walker. This enabled him to have both Aguero and Jesus at the same time. With an unfortunate injury to Mendy and Kompany’s absence, the Spaniard is back to his 4-1-4-1 formation. His use of Delph as an inverted left-back was a master-class at Chelsea. Since then, the Englishman has grabbed his place there. He has drilled this team with perfection and the way they play, even a Manchester City hater might want to pay to watch them.
We all know the league is not done as of now, Manchester United and Spurs by some distance are still in it. But, if Manchester City continue the way they are playing, Premier League might become a two or one-horse race pretty soon. The vital months November, December and January are around the corner. Squads get tested during this period and if Pep manages to get his side through that unharmed, the title may come to blue Manchester in May.