Manchester City’s tactics under Guardiola are entirely unique
Most fans expected to see Manchester City evolve tactically under the management of Pep Guardiola. It’s safe to say they haven’t been disappointed. Ironically, Guardiola has gone back to the future when it comes to taking England’s tactics by storm.
No, Guardiola hasn’t revolutionised English football with his possession based style. Instead, he’s caused Manchester City to zig while every other Premier League club zags. Guardiola’s use of two wingers on the pitch at the same time is wreaking havoc among England’s top flight.
The two wide men in question are the precious young pairing of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane. Both men excel playing in space by using their electric pace to torment opposing defenders. Guardiola may not have entered the season planning on playing both men together, but the two are certainly entrenched in his starting XI now.
Credit Guardiola for having the nerve to play like no one else. As most Premier League sides ditch wingers in favor of attacking midfielders who cut inside at every opportunity, Guardiola is letting his young talent do their work on the edges of the pitch.
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Life hasn’t always been good for Sterling at City, but Guardiola seems to have allowed the former Liverpool man to find his groove. In fact, the City boss thinks Sterling will ascend to stardom once he starts to make the simple plays more effectively. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the Premier League.
Whereas Sterling has been a starter for most of the season, Sane’s been a much more recent addition to Guardiola’s starting XI. His presence on the pitch has opened up the field even more for his attacking teammates. The German starlet has scored three goals and added one assist in his last three starts. It’s safe to say he’s starting to come into his own.
The point I’m making here is that Pep Guardiola isn’t the dogmatic football manager we’ve been led to believe. His recent success at City is a direct result of his willingness to change the way the club plays. Guardiola knows that he has two world-class talents on the wing, and he’s shifted his tactics to take advantage of their presence.
Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane may not start every match for Pep Guardiola, but you can bet they’ll start their share. As long as they do, expect for City to stretch the field horizontally. In many ways, Guardiola’s squad looks much more like a dominant Premier League side of a decade ago than any of his Bayern Munich attacks.