Here comes the big test for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, a man who has usually got his own way when it comes to coaching teams to league titles. But he has found this task rather difficult since coming to England.
Winning the league this season suddenly looks distant after his side lost their 3rd game in 4 matches after losing and imploding against Leicester 2-1. That game saw Fabian Delph sent off and now there are question marks over City’s all conquering side.
City have now fallen 7 points behind Liverpool in the race for the league and have even dropped to 3rd place as Tottenham have overtaken them. Whilst this makes the league interesting to watch there has to be question marks over Guardiola’s management skills.
Last season City played out the greatest ever performance by a team in the Premier League where they amassed 100 points losing just 2 games and finishing 19 points ahead of 2nd placed Manchester United. This was a fantastic season for the team where Guardiola’s team clicked. But if his side were not to win the league this season and we look at his debut season in England where he failed to win the league, is winning one league from 3 seasons after spending £500m on players deemed a success or failure?
Simply put it has been a shocking few weeks for City and Guardiola has now talked about changing the dynamic of the team, but what has gone wrong for the club? Is it a coincidence for example that their form has dipped in line with David Silva’s absence. And given the quality of players that they have why should having one player albeit an influential one make such a difference?
After the teams latest defeat at Leicester Guardiola said: “As soon as possible we have to try to win again for our mood, our confidence and our desire. You have to be confident to play and to come back. I have to reflect and think about what the team needs and how to help them. That is what I am concerned about right now what I have to do to help them come back playing the way they want to play, to move something and try to win again.”
Guardiola will have to prove his worth as one of the best coaches in the world in the coming weeks and get his championship winning team back to winning ways. City’s next three games in the league are; Southampton (away), Liverpool (home) and Wolves (home). The Wolves game seems the most straight forward, but the club will have two very matches coming up. Southampton have looked like a different team since their new coach took over and have already beaten Arsenal at home a few weeks ago.
Then of course there is league leaders Liverpool who could, with a win, go 10 points clear of City. That is the big game and if City can play like champions and prove their worth they could bring the gap down to just 4 points. There is all still to play for, but right now there is judgment and pressure on Guardiola to turn the last few games around.