Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Why Manchester City’s Loss Against Tottenham Hotspur Actually A Boon In Disguise

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

Manchester was blue, the Blue Moon had risen and Pep Guardiola had one hand on the Premier League trophy. Anyone stumbling across social media platforms or Premier League discussion forums would have been forgiven for mistaking that the Premier League was played amongst 19 teams to decide who would be ranked in which order after the Sky Blues, who were seemingly guaranteed of the title.

Rewinding a couple of months, Pep Guardiola was to take over at City where he would, by popular consensus, be exposed as an overrated manager, who could achieve results only if he has a team like Barcelona and Bayern Munich at his disposal. All his tactics and intense research of modern football was kept aside and people found it convenient to pick out senseless follies in order to hide their disappointment at not landing one of the most coveted coaches in the world.

A scratchy win at Sunderland was followed by ‘Hah! He was almost defeated by Moyes.’ Wonder what will happen when he faces the other teams’. One after another, Pep kept on winning, while his detractors kept pulling out beaten and trod upon stereotypes to unsettle the atmosphere. But he passed his opening test with flying colours, dismantling Stoke, outplaying United and seeing off the challenge of the Swans, amongst others.

By now, the supposedly old and average City squad had turned into world beaters and Pep was asked if he could win the league with West Brom.


With 10 wins in 10 matches, the other fanbases were becoming disillusioned and a severe case of awe of a rival football team was sensed. People put down City as the sure shot champions and the adversities that a new manager faces while building a team and the challenge of a host of equally impressive managers with more established squads was ignored, which enabled the pressure to decrease on the other teams, especially when they faced City.

The media obsession and the buzz surrounding City sweeping all and sundry this season reached such an extent that an exasperated Guardiola remarked that they probably needed a loss to put matters into perspective once again. Though the statement was firmly tongue in cheek, the fact remains they have inadvertently stumbled pretty soon after that, drawing to Celtic and suffering their first defeat of the season against Tottenham.

And on cue, the knives were out pinpointing the flaws Guardiola’s system carried and highlighted the ease with which Pochettino was able to neutralise the Catalan’s tactics.

Yes, a Manchester City fan would be gutted with the result but a more pragmatic follower would understand the need of this defeat.

It has brought to the surface, the fickle-minded and double standards of the punditry and Pochettino’s victory has also brought back a sense of semblance to the whole Premier League, wherein Manchester City’s possible league victory will not go down as another routine league win by Pep with the supposedly strongest team in the division but it will be hailed as an achievement if they do go and win it, amongst a plethora of world class players and managers. If.

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