Saturday, March 25, 2023

4-1-4-1: The Ideal Manchester City XI To Give Guardiola His First Premier League Trophy

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Manchester City have so far looked to have successfully adapted to Pep Guardiola’s high pressing and high-intensity tactics. There was a certain air of apprehension when Pep took over at City, with the personnel on show cited unsuitable to the demanding nature of Pep’s philosophy. But the players have put their hands up and have displayed a willingness to sweat it out and learn about the new aspects of the game from the best in the business. The manager has hailed his side and pointed out to the fact that he was taken aback at the speed at which they have been able to put tactics into practice (!) on the pitch.

But even an ardent supporter will know the extent of the task on hand. While the start has certainly given them a push, there is a long way to go before the team is able to perform on similar levels day in day out. And this was exactly what we witnessed when City squared up to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Pochettino was successful in neutralising Pep’s high-pressing tactics and his propensity to build-up play from the back with a set of skilled and young players who possessed a lot of speed. With the minor bump in the Pep revolution out of the way, we take a look at how Manchester City can line-up when all their stars are fully fit.



Claudio Bravo is the best suited amongst the present City keepers to carry out Pep’s build-up play from the back. Bacary Sagna is probably in a better shape to keep his intensity throughout the 90 minutes at right-back.

John Stones picks himself in defence but there are question marks over his partner. While a Vincent Kompany of a couple of years ago would have walked into the team, Pep’s willingness to use a player out of his position could see Fernandinho drop back into a centre back slot while Gael Clichy is a safe bet at left-back.


Ilkay Gundogan can play the perfect midfield orchestrator and at the same time shield the back four. The duo of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne has been a revelation in their new No.8 roles and they would be best suited in the advanced midfield positions.


Nolito has been impressive since his move and looks to be a bargain buy for City. He will line up on the left-wing. One of the revitalization stories of this season has been Raheem Sterling and the English attacker has looked excellent on the right-flank. Sergio Aguero would be the main striker in any Premier League team and it is nothing different at City.

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