The arrival of Pep Guardiola in England sparked debates about whether he would be able to accomplish similar feats as he did at his previous clubs. After a successful stint as manager with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Pep chose Manchester City, a club that started tasting success only recently, turning into a well-oiled machine of doom to be feared by the European clubs.
The Premier League season of 2017/18 was a testament to his style of football which he inherently adores and has mastered over the years. Out of the many records broken that season, the one that stood out was City gaining 100 points by the end of the season.
No other club was up battling it out as the Citizens did. Their plan was in place and the execution was flawless. Sporting a world class roster of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne, Pep rewrote Premier League history with his brand of football.
A FLURRY OF GOALS
Despite breaking the record of garnering most points in a single league season, the Citizens racked up 106 goals by the end of the campaign. Club legend Aguero was their most prolific forward on the pitch, scoring 21 goals, while his partner Sterling revamped himself by delivering a performance of a lifetime, netting 18 goals.
Although the pace of Aguero, Sterling and Sane was beyond measure, what stood apart was De Bruyne and Silva’s pinpoint accuracy while passing the ball around and finding gaps to completely tear down the opposition’s defences.
De Bruyne was the gamechanger for City that season. He took the onus of pushing his team forward and supplied subliminal assists to the forwards. With a total of 16 assists and eight goals to his name, the Belgian was the steaming engine that pulled City past every obstacle.
PEP GUARDIOLA’S MAGIC
After a disappointing campaign in 2017, Pep was determined to deliver the promised title to City. He brought Frenchman Aymeric Laporte to strengthen his defence. Due to a strong press and the rhythmic play of the midfielders, City also conceded the least goals in the league by the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
With his second season in charge, Pep took City to a 22-game unbeaten run, which included a record breaking of 18 consecutive Premier League wins. Their hard-earned triumph over then league champions Chelsea was a sign of a clearly better team with the sole intent of claiming the trophy.
Pep’s high intensity, possession-based play was rewarded on many instances, but City’s most majestic performances came against their new nemesis Liverpool and a lowly ranked Swansea City. In both encounters, City scored five goals without conceding any. The game against Swansea was a moment of pride for the Spanish manager as the Citizens became the first team to attempt over 1,000 passes in a Premier League game.
AS RECORDS FELL
City overcame Chelsea’s record of most wins (30) in top flight football in England as they managed to win 32 encounters during the season, including 16 away wins. They also went on to taunt Manchester United fans by breaking their record of biggest title-winning margin.
It is and will be a massive challenge to repeat what they pulled off in the 2017/18 campaign, as every aspect of their game was unparalleled. But already, given the situation of the ongoing season, City is tipped to complete a hat-trick of Premier League titles this season.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oli Scarff