Is Pep Guardiola really the great manager as portrayed by the media?

On 1st February 2016, Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would be taking over from Manual Pellegrini as manager, starting next season. City fans rejoiced, and all pundits and neutrals were looking forward to seeing Guardiola in the premier league next season. City are already favourites to win the treble next year.

Pep Guardiola is a very good manager, winning 14 trophies with Barcelona, and 7 trophies with Bayern Munich. However, this may be due to the fact he has had quite an easy managerial career, with enough resources behind him to make his job nearly carefree.

Guardiola took over from Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona at the beginning of the 2008-2009 season and took some big steps in selling Ronaldinho, Deco, and Gianluca Zambrotta, who were key in Barcelona’s team. He signed Dani Alves, Seydou Keita, Gerald Pique, Martin Caceres, and Alexander Hleb who are pretty average (apart from Alves and Pique). He still had the likes of Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Xavi, and Andrés Iniesta in the side.

They went on to win the treble with what was really still Frank Rijkaard’s Barcelona team, just carrying on as normal. The inconsistency of Barcelona’s greatest rivals, Real Madrid, replacing their manager, Bernd Schuster, with Juande Ramos allowed Barcelona to gain a march ahead in their domestic league.

Guardiola would then go on to win trophies in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 season, proclaiming him one of the best coaches in the world, again due to the team he had inherited and the inconsistencies of all the teams around him.

Real Madrid were chopping and changing their manager, once again, with Manuel Pellegrini coming in and eventually being replaced by José Mourinho. He signed the likes of Adriano from Sevilla, Javier Mascherano from Liverpool, and David Villa from Valencia. While each player is acceptable, they are hardly up to Barcelona standards, leaving it to the old guard to run the show and win it for Guardiola.

In the 2011-2012 season, things started to catch up with Guardiola and Barcelona, as they conceded the title to Real Madrid, and were knocked out of the champions league by Chelsea, losing some of their key players in Gabriel Milito and Bojan.

Cesc Fàbregas was signed from Arsenal, and despite being the talented player he is, seemed to struggle to adapt to Barcelona’s style of football. Guardiola finished third in Fifa’s World Coach of the Year, losing to José Mourinho in second place, while Vicente del Bosque ended up in first place.

Guardiola then would go on to take a sabbatical for a year, before taking over as Bayern Munich‘s new manager, replacing Jupp Heynckes. Heynckes had just had one of the most successful seasons in Bayern’s history in winning the treble, leaving Guardiola to inherit a treble-winning side. He has tried to change the Bayern formation and his style of possession football, leading to much failure in Europe.

As of the 2016-2017 season, Pep Guardiola has started his management of Manchester City with 10 straight wins. Recently, Guardiola’s tactics have been called into question with the players struggling to come to term with what he wants from them, and he has yet to find his best team.

City’s current situation could be seen as Guardiola’s hardest challenge as a manager. With City’s financial clout, Guardiola can bid on whatever player he wants for however much money he wants, allowing him to create his own fantasy team and set City on course for domestic and European honours.

If Guardiola can win the league next season with City on a limited budget, he will have succeeded as a manager for the first time in his career. His managerial career at Barcelona and Bayern were made all too easy with the players available — or “left — to him.