Pep the Builder – Can he fix it? The 5 areas Guardiola must address at Man City
With Pep Guardiola set to become Manchester City boss this summer, I’ve set out 5 key areas he may be looking to improve going into his first season
Pep Guardiola likes a challenge. In 2008, he took on the biggest managerial job in football with little experience and a squad full of underperforming stars. When he left in 2012, he had 14 trophies and a reputation as the greatest manager in the world.
By taking the job at Eastlands however, the former Blaugrana maestro may be facing his biggest challenge yet . I’ve set out some of the key areas Guardiola may be looking to improve going into his first season as a Premier League manager.
At Bayern and Barça, Pep was blessed with phenomenal attacking talent in wide areas. David Alaba, Dani Alves and Philip Lahm remain arguably the top 3 wing backs in the world, and all blossomed under the expansive gameplans preferred by the Catalan tactician.
Kolarov and Clichy cannot be regarded in the same class. The Frenchman hasn’t looked the same player since he left North London in 2011, while Kolarov is thought to be reconsidering a move to Serie A in order to play under the Spanish coach. He may be facing an uphill task, with Pep preferring his players to give everything to his high-energy, team-focused game. The individual Kolarov may not fit so readily into this collective style.
Yaya Touré was instrumental back in 2012, putting in a number of barnstorming performances as the Citizens won their first Premier League title.
Since then, however, the Ivorian has failed to meet his own dizzying standards. A completely indifferent season last year has been followed by a run of patchy, sleepwalking displays in 2015/16. The former Monaco midfielder will be 33 in the Summer, and may be deemed surplus to requirements by the same coach that sold him to City in the first place back in 2010.
If as expected Martin Demichelis seals a return to Argentina in the summer, Pep may be on the lookout for cover to bolster his defensive ranks. Vincent Kompany remains the only Blues centre-back who looks comfortable in handling the rigors of the Premier League week-in, week-out. With Otamendi and Mangala in particular looking wobbly, expect Guardiola to be scouring the market for a suitable upgrade.
When available , Kun Aguero is comfortably the best goalscorer in the league. The trouble, however, is keeping the little Argentine fit and firing throughout the whole season. If he gets another injury, City look a tad short in offensive areas, with Wilfred Bony not looking like he relishes the responsibility when asked. Gonzalo Higuaín may be a possible target, although he would command a sizeable chunk of Pep’s transfer budget. Not that money is a problem for the super-rich Mancunians.
Joe Hart appears to have ironed out the errors that have marred his game in recent years. Whilst looking more solid than ever, the England number 1 still looks nervy at times and doubtful when dealing with crosses and set plays. Guardiola also likes his goalkeepers to start attacks, and it remains to be seen whether Hart has the footballing technique to perform the sweeper-keeper role.
All-in-all, it looks like Pep will have a lot of work to do with his new club. Time will tell as to whether he can bring the same success to Manchester that he brought to Munich and Barcelona. City fans will be hoping he can weave the same magic in the Cottonopolis.
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