Pep Guardiola Manchester City, 2016

Pep Guardiola Manchester City, 2016

PROFILE

MANCHESTER CITY WERE WIDELY CONSIDERED TO HAVE RECRUITED THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER MANAGER IN THE WORLD WHEN THEY PERSUADED PEP GUARDIOLA TO LEAVE BAYERN MUNICH FOR THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN 2016. AN ADMIRER OF, AMONG OTHERS, MARCELO BIELSA, AND A DISCIPLE OF THE LATE, GREAT, JOHAN CRUYFF, GUARDIOLA IS CREDITED WITH, AT BARCELONA FROM 2008 TO 2012, DEVELOPING PERHAPS THE FINEST CLUB TEAM OF ALL TIME.

 

DURING HIS TIME AT CITY HE HAS OVERSEEN THEM NOT ONLY WINNING TWO PREMIER LEAGUE TITLES, THREE FA CUPS AND TWO LEAGUE CUPS, BUT THEM SETTING A NEW LEAGUE POINTS RECORD, AND RECORDS FOR THE MOST GOALS SCORED AND THE MOST LEAGUE WINS DURING THE COURSE OF A PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON. IF SUGGESTIONS THAT CITY’S 2017/18 TITLE WINNERS REPRESENTED THE FINEST TEAM IN PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY CONTINUE TO DIVIDE OBSERVERS, THERE WILL BE NONE WHO DISAGREE THAT HIS TEAMS PLAY ONLY THE MOST STYLISH AND ATTACKING BRANDS OF FOOTBALL.

 

 

 

PLAYING STYLE

WHILE HE IS A MANAGER WHO REGULARLY CHANGES HIS TEAM’S STRUCTURE, GUARDIOLA REMAINS FIERCELY COMMITTED TO SEVERAL CORE PRINCIPLES. HIS TEAMS CONSISTENTLY PLAY SHORT FROM THEIR GOALKEEPER – FROM BOTH GOAL KICKS AND OPEN PLAY – AND LARGELY BECAUSE OF HIS DESIRE TO CREATE A NUMERICAL OVERLOAD BY HAVING ONE MORE PASSING OPTION THAN THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PLAYERS APPLYING THE OPPOSING TEAM’S PRESS.

 

BY CREATING AN OVERLOAD IN THE FIRST LINE OF AN ATTEMPTED BUILD-UP, A TEAM SHOULD BECOME CAPABLE OF OVERCOMING MOST PRESSING STRATEGIES; THAT GUARDIOLA BUYS GOALKEEPERS CAPABLE OF HITTING LONG, ACCURATE PASSES IS SIMILARLY VALUABLE BECAUSE OF THE OPTIONS SUCH A PLAYER GIVES HIS TEAMS. THROUGH POSING A THREAT IN BEHIND THEY CAN THREATEN WITH THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY RULE – OPPONENTS EITHER APPLY AN ADVANCED PRESS AND RISK LEAVING SPACES BEHIND THEM, OR SIT OFF, AND INVITE THEM TO BUILD SHORT.

 

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IF OPPONENTS APPLY AN ADVANCED PRESS WITH TWO FORWARDS, GUARDIOLA’S TEAM REARRANGE TO ADOPT A BACK THREE – ONE MOST COMMONLY BUILT ON TWO CENTRAL DEFENDERS AND A MIDFIELDER WITHDRAWING TO ALONGSIDE THEM, OR VIA ONE FULL-BACK ADVANCING AND THE OTHER ADOPTING A MORE CENTRAL POSITION. IF OPPONENTS PRESS WITH A FRONT THREE, A BACK FOUR IS PRESERVED AND AN ADVANCED MIDFIELDER OR INSIDE-MOVING WIDE MIDFIELDER WITHDRAWS TO ALONGSIDE THE DEEPEST-LYING MIDFIELDER TO TARGET THE SPACES BETWEEN THAT FRONT THREE. LIKE BUILDING FROM THEIR GOALKEEPER, THESE ONGOING ATTEMPTS TO CREATE A FREE PLAYER IN THE FIRST PHASE OF POSSESSION ARE ALSO CENTRAL TO GUARDIOLA’S DESIRED POSITIONAL PLAY.

 

IT IS THEIR ATTEMPTS TO PRIORITISE PENETRATIVE POSSESSION, AND TOWARDS FORWARD-FACING PLAYERS, THAT LEAD TO THEIR USE OF A THIRD INDIVIDUAL – OPPONENTS ADOPTING RESERVED DEFENSIVE BLOCKS MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO CONTINUALLY RECEIVE THE BALL WHILE FACING FORWARDS. PROGRESSING POSSESSION VIA A THIRD PLAYER (BELOW) IS A SUITABLE ALTERNATIVE WHEN THE DIRECT ROUTE BETWEEN THE TWO RELEVANT PLAYERS IS BLOCKED. ONE REGULAR PATTERN INVOLVES A DEFENDER PLAYING TO A WIDE FORWARD OR CENTRAL ATTACKER WHO HAS WITHDRAWN INTO MIDFIELD AND THAT THIRD PLAYER, IN TURN, SENDING POSSESSION ON TO A FURTHER MIDFIELDER. THE DETERMINATION TO DOMINATE THOSE CENTRAL AREAS OF THE PITCH CONTRIBUTES TO THAT; NUMEROUS HIGH-QUALITY PLAYERS IN THAT TERRITORY INCREASES THEIR GRASP OF POSSESSION THERE, AND ENCOURAGES THEIR MOST EFFECTIVE PLAYERS TO REMAIN IN THE AREAS OF THE PITCH THEY MOST RELISH.

 

 

IT IS HIS VISION, AND HIS ABILITY TO DESIGN PARTICULARLY COMPLEX STRATEGIES BUILT ON HIS PLAYERS’ QUALITIES, THAT IS PERHAPS GUARDIOLA’S GREATEST STRENGTH. HIS APPROACH AT BARCA PRIORITISED THE PASSING ABILITIES OF XAVI HERNáNDEZ, ANDRéS INIESTA AND SERGIO BUSQUETS, AND THE MOVEMENT AND POSITIONING OF LIONEL MESSI. AT BAYERN HE INTRODUCED THE FALSE FULL-BACK TO ENCOURAGE OVERLOADS IN CENTRAL POSITIONS, AND A SYSTEM THAT LED TO WIDE FORWARDS FRANCK RIBéRY AND ARJEN ROBBEN ATTACKING DEFENDERS ONE-ON-ONE, PHILIP LAHM CONTRIBUTING TO THEIR DOMINANCE OF POSSESSION IN CENTRAL MIDFIELD, AND ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI BOTH OFFERING A FOCAL POINT AND LEADING THEIR COUNTER-PRESS.

 

THE USE OF FALSE FULL-BACKS HAS CONTINUED AT CITY. FABIAN DELPH AND LATER OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO HAVE PROVED CAPABLE OF DRIFTING FROM LEFT-BACK TO CREATE A DOUBLE PIVOT IN FRONT OF THE THREE-STRONG DEFENCE THEY HAD LEFT. WHAT OFTEN BECAME A 3-2-2-3, OR W-M, FORMATION INVOLVED THEIR FOUR-STRONG CENTRAL MIDFIELD BOX OUTNUMBERING THE MIDFIELD THREES THEY MOST REGULARLY ENCOUNTER. IF HE HAS CHOSEN AGAINST USING A 4-3-3 OF SORTS, AN ALTERNATIVE BACK THREE HAS BEEN FAVOURED IN WHICH KYLE WALKER HAS FEATURED (BELOW, WHEN AN OVERLOAD HAS BEEN CREATED TOWARDS THE LEFT), RODRI HAS OPERATED AS A LONE DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER, AND LONE STRIKERS SERGIO AGüERO OR GABRIEL JESUS HAVE WITHDRAWN TO TOWARDS THOSE ON THE LEFT TO TARGET KEVIN DE BRUYNE’S CROSSES AND TO CREATE SPACE ON THE RIGHT.

 

 

DEFENDING AND PRESSING

ANOTHER CONSISTENT FEATURE OF GUARDIOLA’S TEAMS HAS BEEN THE IMMEDIATE, AGGRESSIVE COUNTER-PRESS THEY APPLY WHEN POSSESSION IS LOST. THAT HE DEMANDS HIS TEAM BUILD POSSESSION IN CLOSE QUARTERS MEANS THAT ANY OPPONENT WINNING IT WILL QUICKLY BE SURROUNDED.

 

HIS TEAM AT BARCA COUNTER-PRESSED WITH THE INTENTION OF INTERCEPTING PASSES, BECAUSE SO MANY OF HIS PLAYERS WERE SO STRONG AT REACTING TO THOSE PASSES AND CUTTING THEM OUT; AT BAYERN, A MORE ASSERTIVE COUNTER-PRESS ENCOURAGED THOSE STRONGER AT DUELLING FOR POSSESSION VIA DIRECT CHALLENGES. CITY ESSENTIALLY OFFER A BLEND OF THE TWO, OWING TO THE REGULARITY OF SECOND BALLS IN THE ENERGETIC, COMBATIVE PREMIER LEAGUE THAT DEMANDS THEY HAVE STRONG INDIVIDUALS, AND THE INTENSITY TO PRESS AND INTERCEPT.

 

 

GUARDIOLA FAVOURS HIS TEAM DEFENDING WITH A 4-1-4-1 DEFENSIVE BLOCK THAT BECOMES A 4-4-2 WHEN THEY ARE DEFENDING FOR LENGTHIER PERIODS, VIA DE BRUYNE ADVANCING TO ALONGSIDE AGüERO OR JESUS. THAT 4-4-2 CAN EVOLVE INTO A 4-2-4 WHEN RAHEEM STERLING AND RIYAD MAHREZ OR BERNARDO SILVA ADVANCE TO TOWARDS THEIR OPPOSING FULL-BACKS. THE MORE RECENT USE OF FERNANDINHO AS A CENTRAL DEFENDER, AND HIS WILLINGNESS TO MOVE FOWARD AND INTERCEPT PASSES (ABOVE), HAS BECOME CRUCIAL TO THOSE SHAPES FOLLOWING THEIR MIDFIELD FIVE BECOMING A FOUR; IT IS WHEN THE BRAZILIAN DOESN’T SUCCEED AGAINST HIS DIRECT OPPONENT THAT THEY CAN APPEAR MORE VULNERABLE.

 

FOR ALL OF THEIR INCREASED NUMBERS IN THE FINAL THIRD, CITY HAVE RISKED BECOMING EASIER TO SCORE AGAINST BECAUSE, IN THE ABSENCE OF THE DOUBLE PIVOT CREATED BY A FALSE FULL-BACK, THEY HAVE CONCEDED HIGHER-QUALITY GOALSCORING CHANCES. WHERE THERE PREVIOUSLY EXISTED TWO PLAYERS PROTECTING THE THREE REMAINING IN DEFENCE, THERE IS MORE OFTEN ONE.

 

 

34 Comments

  1. Reply

    Nice

  2. Reply

    Nice write up

  3. Reply

    Amazing

  4. Reply

    Nice

  5. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  6. Reply

    Thanks for this update

  7. Reply

    Oga boss

  8. Reply

    Great

  9. Reply

    Great info

  10. Reply

    This is really good and interesting to know about pep guardiola

  11. Reply

    Awesome

  12. Reply

    This is really impressive

  13. Reply

    Good One

  14. Reply

    Good article

  15. Reply

    Cool

  16. Reply

    Cool

  17. Reply

    This is amazing.

  18. Reply

    Good to know

  19. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  20. Reply

    Great one

  21. Reply

    Guardiola is one of the best coaches

  22. Reply

    God bless you for the time you brought out to share this with us

  23. Reply

    Thanks for sharing this update

  24. Reply

    Good

  25. Reply

    Manchester United is an awesome club, even way back

  26. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  27. Reply

    Great one

  28. Reply

    One of best Coach ever

  29. Reply

    thanks for the update

  30. Reply

    Nice one

  31. Reply

    Guardiola is a strict disciplinarian

  32. Reply

    Nice one

  33. Reply

    nice one

  34. Reply

    Wow nice

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