The football world was agog when Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola was announced as the new manager for English Premiership side Manchester City. The Spaniard’s move to the Blue half of Manchester did not come as a surprise to many, because in actual fact, it was just an ‘announced secret’ waiting to be unveiled.
The former gaffer of the Catalan giants is set to have his first real test as a football manager. His move to the Premier League will stretch his capabilities and tactical prowess as he would be faced with other tactical managers and financial muscle that he didn’t encounter in his previous assignments.
In his first senior job as Barcelona coach, he led the team to an unprecedented 6 titles in the 2008/2009 season, scoring 105 goals in the La Liga and leading archrivals Real Madrid by 9 points. He lifted the Champions League same year, losing only one match all season. He ended up lifting 14 titles in his four years in charge of Barcelona.
After his stint he took a sabbatical from coaching for a year. He took over the reins at Bayern Munich after the retirement of Jupp Heynckes. He introduced his own style of play, tiki taka into the Bavarians setup making them an unbeatable force in Germany and almost in the entire Europe. He has so far won 6 titles at the Allianz Arena.
His coming to the EPL will provide a new challenge for him, as he would have to face the likes of Stoke City at the Britannia, one of the most difficult travels in the Premiership. He would also go toe to toe with the financial might of teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. These clubs would provide a stiffer battle than having to only face Real Madrid in the La Liga and Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
The Barclays Premiership is one that provides upset on a weekly basis with top teams beaten by lower teams unlike his Barcelona and Bayern Munich teams where blowing others away.
So as Pep arrives at the Etihad Stadium, he would need to do a major overhaul of the Citizens team, as many of the players do not fit into his playing style. At Barcelona and Bayern he had the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Andreas Iniesta, Xavi, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery pulling the strings. But at City, despite having the needed finances, the competition to bring in top players would be keenly contested among other top British clubs.