Guardiola dedicates title win to Manchester Arena bombing victims
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Four English league titles in five seasons places Pep Guardiola in elevated company. Only three other men have presided over periods of such domestic dominance – George Ramsay of Aston Villa in the late 19th century, Bob Paisley of Liverpool and Sir Alex Ferguson who managed the feat three times at Manchester United.
Manchester City manager Guardiola may not enjoy quite the same longevity as Ferguson but the mark he has made on English football has been just as profound in its own way since taking over in 2016.
The initial questions over whether Guardiola’s Catalan rhythms would translate to the English game have long since been answered. The aesthetics and the achievements have gone hand in hand.
For opponents it is death by trigonometry, the shapes drawn up in Guardiola’s sparking mind unique puzzles few have been able to solve.
Pep-ball has enabled City to hog so much possession and create so many chances that over the course of a season no one, ultimately not even a Liverpool team that has reached three cup finals, have been able to keep pace.
There is much more to a Guardiola side than mere statistics but the numbers do not lie. They have scored more goals and conceded fewer than any of their rivals. It was the same last season and also in 2017-18, another title-winning campaign in which City amassed an unprecedented 100 words.
The failure to sign a specialist centre-forward last summer, having targeted Tottenham talisman Harry Kane, has not proved a hindrance – domestically at least – nor did the extended absence of last season’s Premier League Player of the Year Ruben Dias in March and April, as well as right now.
Guardiola has a squad of enviable depth thanks to City’s resources which have enabled him to plug the gaps but he has rotated it expertly and brought the best out of some superb players. There has been no drop-off from his side this season, his sixth at the club.
Like Ferguson across Manchester before him, Guardiola has kept his team pushing on for more. Europe may still prove frustratingly out of reach but the Premier League is City’s once again. Guardiola sits on the football throne as the king of England. Now City aim for a hat-trick of titles next year, something only United have ever done in the Premier League era.
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