June 10, 2023

Guardiola already proving he’s no fraud at Man City

September 17, 2016

The Catalan has (stupidly) been accused of inheriting readymade teams in Spain and Germany but his exploits in England are yet more proof of his quality.

As the Manchester City fans watched their side dismantle Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium, what must the rest of the Premier League have been thinking?

City were majestic in the latest demonstration that, yes, Pep Guardiola’s style of play can work in England.

The idea that he is a “fraud” is surely only peddled by the jilted, but the Catalan has done enough in less than three months at City to show that his feats in the game to date are simply not down to luck.

Anybody who has done the slightest bit of research will know his success at Barcelona was not just because he had Lionel Messi, and then he went to Germany and made as stubborn a club as Bayern Munich dance to his tune.

That, though, is the past. This is the present, and City are increasingly looking like the team of the future.

Guardiola has got his squad playing some wonderful football, and it is frightening to think how dangerous City will be a few months down the line.

Success in the Champions League may yet be a while off but already City’s English rivals will be quaking in their boots.

Bournemouth have just one win to their name so far this season and they were beaten soundly here early last season before City’s campaign unravelled.

But the Blues were untouchable, and it is hard to imagine many teams coming here and faring much better as the squad gets to grips with their marvellous manager.

Each goal was brilliant. Kevin De Bruyne slid a free-kick under the jumping wall to start it off, Kelechi Iheanacho finished off a breathtaking counter-attack, Raheem Sterling – albeit with a bit of luck – put the finishing touch to another fine move and Ilkay Gundogan got a goal on his league debut after yet more intricate play.

The inspired De Bruyne was named man of the match but there were several genuine contenders. Sterling was a constant thorn in the side and almost scored a goal-of-the-season candidate after skipping past five men and striking the post. Iheanacho linked up brilliantly with his attacking midfielders. Gundogan looked right at home yet again. Fernandinho controlled yet another match behind them all. Nolito’s late red card for a petulant headbutt was the only negative, and how unnecessary it was.

This game, though, is more proof that City are getting better and better as the matches go by. This is eight wins from eight games for Guardiola now, and there’s no sign that the run will stop any time soon.

That thought will keep many a Premier League manager awake at night over the coming weeks, months and years. Swansea City’s Francesco Guidolin is in for a rough few days: his side host City twice, in the League Cup on Wednesday and the league a week today.

City just about squeezed past Sunderland on the opening day but they have not looked back since. Each week has brought improvement: more quality, more control, more ‘wow’ moments.

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