Manchester City have an away trip against Swansea City next on their agenda and will be looking to make it 10-wins in a row since the start of the season. Pep Guardiola was always expected to change the way this team played football, but the speed with which his players have balanced the formula has befuddled many leaving even Pep surprised. The same players who were getting a lot of stick last season suddenly look like reborn players with new found versatility and sharpness.
Pep Guardiola could have gone for the jugular and got himself an almost brand new team with the dynamic players who were all touted to come to City. But he bought wisely. A central defender, a midfielder, a goalkeeper and a couple of attackers were drafted in to cushion his new tactics. And he worked overtime with the players he felt were ready to give their 100% for the team and did not shy away from taking difficult decisions.
Manuel Pellegrini for all his good qualities was more often than not dependent on his star players to win matches and hence on the occasion that they failed to reach their peak, which was a lot last season, they underperformed miserably and looked pedestrian at times.
David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, De Bruyne, Yaya Toure; all these players hardly played together for any notable period of time and had their ongoing issues throughout the campaign. Last season, any match devoid of Silva or Aguero, the Sky Blues looked bereft of ideas and failed to justify the years of work that went into building the team. There was no Plan B and the players seemed to have reached their stagnation point.
Without going into too much detail here we would like to point out the clear change that this season has brought about. It is true that Silva and De Bruyne have fired in unison and Sergio Aguero has also looked in impeccable nick and while these are also down to the manager, the distinct difference between the two seasons has been the way City have played in the occasions these players have not been available for selection.
Pep Guardiola has managed to impart such a set-up in this very short span that the available players can step in anytime and continue at the same level that Manchester City play. And it has been apparent in the Manchester derby where Aguero was banned and the first leg against Borussia Monchengladbach where they ran out 4-0 winners without the services of David Silva.
So, when we get to know of Silva’s unavailability for the Bournemouth game or that Gundogan might not be able to pull off another start in such a short span of time or that De Bruyne might have picked up a knock, the same resigned moans and groans are not immediately forthcoming as the fans know under Pep Guardiola, the style and system will always be the same. With Kolarov looking like a player who can basically play anywhere he wants now, Pep’s success so far has actually been a lot understated in relation to what he has achieved in changing.
The likes of Fabian Delph and Fernando are more than capable of coming in as replacements for the missing stars and ensure Manchester City play like Manchester City are supposed to play. And this is something we will actually see a lot of people acknowledging being the Catalan’s biggest impact on the squad, in the days to come.