They say in football that there are many patterns and coincidences, like a symmetry that aligns. It feels odd when it all comes together. Like a player rejoining an old club and his first game being against his former club. A successful manager never winning the Champions League, a manager reaching a multitude of finals and not getting a win, and then there are the records and how they are broken.
For example it is very possible that this season Liverpool will win the league title playing Manchester City and that would seem apt, a passing of the torch (at least for this season), from champion to new champion.
What has felt very similar this season has been Pep Guardiola’s approach to his Manchester City side this season and his approach to last club Bayern Munich. True Bayern won the league in impressive style and that won’t be the case for City. But the manner and tactics in which the two clubs have played has been quite delightful on the eye.
After the German league restarted Bayern were simply devastating to a manner in which some are hailing them the best team in the world. Not only were they playing brilliant football, they were scoring many goals and simply swept aside every team they had to face. The league ended earlier than many expected a Borussia Dortmund challenge never sufficed.
One could say that we are seeing the same of Manchester City. Yes they won’t be able to win the league this season, but they are wanting to go out on a high. First game back they beat Arsenal 3-0 in a one sided game which saw a team as talented as the Gunners having no shots on target. And then there was the clubs 2nd game a fantastic 5-0 thrashing of Burnley. The only disappointment from that game is Sergio Aguero’s injury, but he wasn’t even on the score sheet such is the menacing talent throughout the squad.
So what does this all lead to? And what is motivating Manchester City to finish 2nd? Truth is the club are using these games to get up to peak standard for the Champions League which resumes in August. They should be able to make the quarter finals as they hold a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg. Madrid would need to score 2 goals to have any chance, and whilst they can score, can they really keep the goals down from this City side?
As for Bayern they have one foot in the next round because they are 3-0 up from the first leg over Chelsea. These two giant sides look like they will progress. They could meet before the final of course- that is the luck of the draw, but it would feel ‘complete’ somehow if they were to meet each other in this season’s final. Bayern v Manchester City, two clubs bank rolled and yet two clubs who have a lot of the philosophy and DNA of Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola knows the league is over but that doesn’t mean his team won’t be playing at 110%, as has been shown they are doing just that. But the bigger prize for them is around the corner, the Champions League it is what Guardiola desires, can he get his hands back on the famous trophy for the first time since 2011?
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