Are systems paramount to success?
By James Matthews, Mon 18 March 2019 15:52
Since the arrival of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have been a force at the top of the Premier League, winning the top-flight crown last season in dominant fashion. The club are mounting a serious challenge to become the first team since Manchester United in 2009 to defend the title.
City are locked stride-for-stride at the top with Liverpool, with only one point separating the two teams at the time of writing. Under Manuel Pellegrini, City edged out the Reds for the title in the 2013/14 campaign, capitalising on their collapse towards the end of the term. History could repeat itself, despite City not enjoying as strong a campaign as their previous romp to the crown under Guardiola’s tenure when they broke the 100-point barrier.
Guardiola’s system has been integral to City’s success and has been more important than ever this season, given the injuries that the club has suffered. Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho and even Sergio Aguero have all missed time over the course of the campaign. Their replacements have fitted seamlessly into the line-up at different times during the term, producing high-quality performances to keep the club on course for success in all four competitions.
The Spaniard has developed his style during his career with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City. His ability to identify a style over dependence on individual brilliance on a weekly basis has kept him routinely ahead of his rivals in the game – notably Jose Mourinho and United in recent history.
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It was clear to see that the players thrived in the positive environment created by the Spaniard at the club along with his tactics. It has seen them keep their surge alive amidst injuries and setback as players such as Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus have come to the fore. Although all three are high-quality players, stepping into the breach to world-class operators and maintain the club’s impressive record without them is a testament to a near-flawless system.