While it’s safe to say that Manchester City have already achieved some pretty great things under the guidance and leadership of Pep Guardiola, you could also say that there’s still quite a lot left to be desired. Whether it’s their failure to capture the UEFA Champions League title under the Spaniard’s tutelage or Liverpool’s league dominance in the last 14 months, the world know that City aren’t the leading force they once were.
Maybe that’s due to Pep’s management abilities diminishing or maybe, this just isn’t a partnership that’s feasible anymore. That might seem like a pretty out there suggestion but it’s true and as we look ahead to the rest of the domestic season, you’ll be able to see on the betting page that Manchester City aren’t always going to be the outright favourites anymore. They will in most games, but it does feel like they could be moving out of their golden generation period and into something different.
We could be entirely wrong and this could be nothing more than a blip that comes and goes for Guardiola but it’s hard not to compare some of the struggles he’s had at the Etihad to what he’s achieved in the past. He’s best known for his time with Barcelona and it was also obvious to see that enjoyed life in Germany with Bayern Munich, but it’s been said before and we’ll say it again – England is a whole other ball game.
From the pinnacle to the pointless League Cup ties and beyond there is a great deal of praise that should be directed towards the strength of this division, especially after the UCL and UEL finals in 2019 were made up exclusively of four English clubs. That’s no accident, and it’s also pretty damning that Manchester City wasn’t involved in that process.
It’s not as if Pep doesn’t have the potential to go on and really shoot for the skies with another club because he does but the motivation seems to have dropped ever so slightly. If nothing else it is becoming more and more clear that the Premier League is beating him down from a mental point of view and that can only go on for so long. We don’t think the answer is for him to leave just yet because Liverpool have proven that they certainly aren’t invisible, but there defensive and structural issues that should concern even the most optimistic of City fans.
One thing that may really start to motivate Pep in a big way would be the acquisition of Lionel Messi. This appears to be quite unlikely given how quickly the story fizzled out this past summer but maybe, just maybe, that’s what he has been waiting for.
If they can really pull the trigger on that deal then they would instantly become the favourites to win just about any competition they’re involved in. It’ll be a long process, though, and even if they want to do it next year, they first have to ensure they get through this season with Pep intact as manager.