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Could Pep Guardiola lead Man City to another treble in 2023/24?

Manchester City dominated in 2022/23 as Pep Guardiola guided the club to an historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble. Can they do it again?

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Manchester City dominated in 2022/23 as Pep Guardiola guided the club to an historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble. After such a formidable display last season, all eyes are on the Cityzens to see how they respond in 2023/24 and to see if they can somehow do the unthinkable and secure back-to-back trebles.

Man City have been top dogs in England ever since Guardiola arrived from Bayern Munich in 2016. They have won five of the last six Premier League titles, and lifted eight domestic cup competitions, meaning Guardiola has won 13 trophies in his seven years in charge at the Etihad Stadium. Not many managers in the world can boast such a record, especially in such a competitive division like the Premier League. The one trophy that eluded Guardiola during his time at City was the Champions League.

However, he finally got his hands on the European Cup last season when Manchester City beat Inter Milan 1-0 in the final thanks to a solitary goal from Rodri. It capped a memorable campaign as, having already secured the league and FA Cup, City secured an historic treble that will ensure this squad go down in history as one of the best ever teams.

Repeat?

After such a monumental achievement, many will question where City go from here. There are usually two schools of thought; the club go on to dominate even more and continue to win numerous trophies, or they struggle for motivation after reaching the pinnacle of the game.

It’s obvious what Man City supporters think is going to happen. The fan-base continues to grow year-on-year and it’s now extremely difficult to buy Manchester City tickets ahead of the new season as the demand is so high to watch Guardiola’s team in action. City have now become a true European superpower and fans expect them to push on to establish themselves as one of the most successful teams on the planet. They have the money and the infrastructure to do it, and as long as Guardiola is in charge, they should continue to win major honours on the field.

Man City had the joint best defensive record [along with Newcastle] in the Premier League last season, conceding just 33 goals in 38 games. They also had the most dangerous attack having scored 94 goals – six more than second placed Arsenal and an incredible 36 more than third-placed Man Utd. It’s going to be hard to improve upon a goal difference of +61 but if any team can do it, it’s Man City.

With Erling Haaland now settled in England after plundering an incredible 52 goals in 53 games in all competitions last season, he could be even better this coming campaign. A frightening thought for defences, but as long as the Norwegian stays fit, he’ll be looking to score even more next season now that he’s familiarised himself with his new City team mates. Julian Alvarez will also be looking to push on this year after an impressive debut campaign in England. The highly-rated Argentinean attacker has huge potential and could establish himself as an important player this season.

Guardiola is also strengthening his already formidable defence. City are on the verge of buying Josko Gvardiol in a mega £80m deal from RB Leipzig. Gvardiol is widely regarded as the best young centre-back in Europe so he will be an excellent addition to Man City’s squad and make them even harder to beat next season.

With the best defence and the best attack, and Guardiola in the dug out, it’s no wonder Man City are the bookies favourites to win the Premier League and Champions League once again this coming campaign. They’ll also be favourites to win the FA Cup and EFL Cup, so they could even top last season by going one better to win the quadruple! If you ask most pundits right now, they’d predict Man City to win the lot next year.

Hope for rivals?

However, football is rarely straightforward and there are lots of other factors to consider. The best team doesn’t always win every game, and rival clubs will be hoping that Man City may not be as formidable as many expect this season.

Firstly, there is an argument that Man City’s squad is weaker than it was last year. They’ve lost influential skipper Ilkay Gundogan – who joined Barcelona on a free transfer this month after running down his contract. Gundogan has been an excellent servant for City since joining from Borussia Dortmund and he played a vital role in them winning the treble last season. Not only did he scored some important goals during the run in to secure the Premier League title, he also scored both goals in the FA Cup final win over Man Utd.

The German international is going to be sorely missed at the Etihad Stadium and his departure will come as a big blow to Guardiola. Not only have Man City lost an incredible midfielder, but they’ve also lost a leader in the dressing room. Mateo Kovacic has been signed from Chelsea and the Croatian international is a top midfield player, but he’s not in the same class as Gundogan and won’t be able to replace his impact at City.

Riyad Mahrez has also left to move to Saudi Arabia. The 32-year-old Moroccan may not have been one of the first names on Guardiola’s team sheet every week, but he was still hugely influential in the final third. Mahrez provided 15 goals and 13 assists in 34 starts in all competitions last season, and it’s going to be tough for City to replace that goal threat unless they dip into the transfer market. Kyle Walker has also been strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich and he’d be a huge loss if he leaves.

Secondly, it’s going to be interesting to see how the City players react following their sensational treble winning season. Many former pro’s have admitted they lost a bit of motivation after achieving great success, and it won’t be easy for the Man City players to fully focus after such a mentally draining campaign.

They realised their dream of winning the treble last year, and it will be hard to show the same motivation week-in, week-out this season. Even if Man City drop their level just a little bit, it will have a negative impact on results, so Guardiola has a battle to get his players fully motivated when the season kicks off on August 12th.

It’s certainly going to be a fascinating season and all eyes will be on the champions to see how they begin the campaign. Will they hit the ground running and show everybody they want to win another treble? Or will they struggle to rediscover their best form and give their rivals hope that they won’t be at their usual level this season?

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