The Premier League season is now approaching the tail end, with the table still remaining pretty volatile even though the teams have entered the final run of games that shall justify their work across a long and arduous season. We’ve watched some of the better football the Premier League has seen, with a slew of talented managers bringing their respective footballing philosophies into the league to lend it a dynamism and unpredictability which has led to many experts and fans across the world unanimously deciding amongst themselves that the Premier League is the most competitive and exciting league in the world. When the season started, the title race was wide open.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea had amazing runs wherein they remain undefeated for a couple of months until teams figured sussed them out and began to play styles that could sufficiently counter the stylish or attack-minded persuasions of each side. With an exhilarating end to the season beckoning, the betting crew at sevenjackpots.com have been going placing their bets at an equally exhilarating pace in anticipation. As things stand after 30 games, Manchester City are at the top of the table with Liverpool being just one point below them.
There is a good chance that the title would be won by the smallest of margins and either team can take it away depending on how they fare in their remaining run of fixtures. With that said, however, it makes for interesting procrastination to speculate upon Manchester City’s chances of a successful title defence. Last season, Manchester City steamrolled past all opposition, playing some of the more sizzling yet complete football ever seen in the league, and reached the 100 point threshold, finishing a massive 19 points ahead of Manchester United and sending a resounding message to the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola had definitely done his homework after a rather underwhelming first season and had been the subject of ridicule after spending more than 100 million on bringing in three full-backs in the form of Mendy, Walker and Danilo. Guardiola tweaked his philosophy for the PL, meaning that not only did they dominate through their attacking endeavours but also remained defensively solid. Of course, it is hard to be bad defensively when you dominate 3/4th of the possession all game long and pass your opposition into submission but the efforts of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte should not be seen in a lesser light.
Sheikh Mansour’s investment has seen Manchester City open the purse strings for some of the most exciting talent available across the world. The likes of Aguero, Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and a slew of other world-class talent have made the city their home and even on the bench, City has talent on the bench worth a hundred millions on its own. Perhaps only Liverpool matches them in terms of squad depth, and a second look would show that even their depth is pale in comparison to City’s embarrassment of riches.
It’s quite ridiculous when you think of it, seeing a 35 million Argentine international along with a 26 million full back on the bench. It is what it is, however, in this day and age when even relegation candidates can afford to spend 100 million in the summer and bring in household names.
Here, we shall discuss City’s prospects and whether they shall be able to steamroll to a successive title win. With such fine margins and so many dynamics to be considered, let us dive deeper into City’s title challenge.
The Guardiola Effect
At the expense of going all Captain Obvious, the effect and influence of Guardiola cannot be overlooked or underplayed. While he certainly has fantastic talent at his disposal to work his magic, he has reinvented quite a few players into becoming useful cogs of the team which goes to show to how good he is at taking players to the next level.
One only has to look at how he has helped David Silva evolve into deep-lying playmaker, Kyle Walker from merely a marauding pace merchant to someone who has the defensive and technical diligence to fit into Guardiola’s system like Dani Alves and Rafinha did at Barcelona and Bayern respectively, not to mention how he has converted Fabian Delph into a reliable utility player by playing him at left back. Under his tutelage, Sterling has turned into a more rounded player who has an end product, making him one of the best forwards currently out there in the English game. Guardiola certainly has his ways of reinventing players and utilising their strengths to fit into his philosophy if they put in the hard yards and he has certainly managed to make the players at City do just that.
With Guardiola’s obvious pedigree in no doubt given how coveted his managerial career has been over the years, he probably has a better experience in terms of how one seals a title race than his contemporary at Liverpool. However, one shouldn’t take Klopp lightly as he’s one of those managers who happen to have a pretty decent record against Guardiola, having been pitted against him in the Bundesliga where they’d regularly engage in a battle of tactical wit. It certainly looks like it’ll be pretty close this time and it’ll definitely be an intriguing battle from here on in.
City’s run of fixtures
The remaining run of fixtures shall determine the fortunes of the Citizens. With games coming in fast and furious and City having cup obligations like the CL to tend to, it shall definitely be a test of Guardiola’s tactical adroitness along with the strength in depth we often talk about when we talk about City.
Manchester City does have a slightly challenging fixture list, with away games against a solid Brighton looking to secure safety, a Crystal Palace side that seems to have made Selhurst Park a fortress, relegation probables Fulham, a resolute Burnley and an incredibly difficult trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. It’ll be quite a miracle if City manages to acquire all possible 15 points from these away games. At home, they shall welcome Cardiff, Tottenham and Leicester and although Tottenham is quite the volatile side in terms of which Tottenham will turn up against the Citizens, one would expect them to sweep teams at home.