Guardiola continues to shape modern football as Manchester City get better everyday

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 30.08.2016 01:19
Updated 30.08.2016 01:20

Even though he refuses to be called a revolutionary, it is obvious that Pep Guardiola has made Manchester City a team that English football has never seen before. His predecessors, Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini changed the old-school English football mentality in Manchester, but the main philosophy of the club has never been so precise and radical in the tenure of the current club owners. Now, the most stunning part for many people who believe the old, individualistic and chaotic practices of football, Guardiola has managed to implement the same system in three different clubs with completely different squads. It is now clear that the long-reigning lie that "good football can only be played with good players" has been sent to the garbage can by Pep Guardiola.

First of all, the first 20 minutes of the West Ham United game was an outstanding showcase by City of how to satisfy the needs of modern football. The team organized both attack and defense together, defenders were in midfield when attacking and the forward players were in front of their penalty box when defending, they always confronted the West Ham build-ups with three men pressing the area that the ball was in and with at least four men blocking the possible passing options. West Ham could not find any space and time to organize anything threatening for City goalkeeper Willy Caballero, except on occasion. City certainly do not have the best defenders in the world, but they have the best defensive strategy in the world and this is where you understand the genius Guardiola has for organizing his team.

Secondly, more touches of genius occurred when City had the ball and organized the most sophisticated attacks seen in the Premier League so far. David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne created the attacks down the center while Nolito and Raheem Sterling widened the game on the wings. These four players were the main engines of the game, creating enough time and space for each other and to Sergio Agüero to finish. As a result, City created many opportunities in the first half and the first goal was a perfect example of what Guardiola is planning. Fast and patient circulation of the ball in the opponent's half always brings a dynamic shape to attacks and stretches the opponent's defense to a point that defending over such wide area becomes impossible.

Even though defensive midfielder Fernandinho and the defenders contribute a lot to this offensive variety and efficiency, in the last period of the game they tended to be more conservative in their offensive participation. The reason why for 30 minutes in the second half the City domination was slightly lifted was that the defenders did not force the game forward as they did in the first half. Of course, the team and the strategy are too new for each other and we do not know if City have reached their physical peak yet, so I believe we will see their best performance against Manchester United after the international break. Even though Agüero will be punished for his malicious punch against Winston Reid - to be honest he deserves a punishment - City have the tactics to work with the same efficiency with other players too. From now on, everyone who complained about a lack of individual talent should watch Guardiola and learn from him how to build a strategy.

Keeper Review:

It has been a long time since I wrote the Keeper Review, but Willy Caballero's confusing performance forced me to write one. He sometimes seems like the most suitable goalkeeper for City with his ball skills and Guardiola's desperate need for a goalkeeper who can play like Manuel Neuer with the ball. Nevertheless, the goal he conceded exemplifies why City spend 17 million pounds on Claudio Bravo from Barcelona, who has approximately same skills as Caballero. His hesitant aerial command is crystal clear and he cannot communicate confidence to his teammates when their opponent comes down the wings. Thus, given Joe Hart is not favored by Guardiola, probably because of his insufficient ball skills, Claudio Bravo would be the best option for City.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
DAILY SABAH RECOMMENDS