Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City with big promises last summer. Before his move to Premier League, he had enjoyed a lot of success with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but many argued that the Spaniard’s job was made easy by the talent at his disposal at both of his jobs.
The City job was quite different. He was required to build a new team without any support from the youth academy, and carry the club to the heights they have never experienced before in their history; especially at European level.
City started last season on a perfect note by the bigfreebet.com independent assessment, and everyone thought that Guardiola has already started to work his magic. However, their season soon imploded, and they ended up fighting for Champions League football.
It was a totally new situation for Guardiola, and he responded by spending around £150m net in the summer transfer window. On the back of their recruitment, City were once again installed as favourites for the league title in the summer. However, the Citizens are yet to hit top gear this season as opposed to their town-rivals Manchester United, who have started the season in the third gear.
On the opening-day, City needed two late goals to claim a 2-0 win at newcomers Brighton, and on the next weekend, they could only accomplish a 1-1 home draw against Everton. In the last fixture before the international break, City needed a 97th-minute winner from Raheem Sterling to defeat Bournemouth.
Some would say that it’s a sign of champions, but City must raise their game by a few notches when Liverpool come visiting Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The game against the Reds would be City’s first real test this season, and it could very well serve as an indicator to the direction City’s season is headed.
The Reds are level on points with City, but they will come into the game on the back of the 4-0 demolition of the Gunners. Both sides are contenders this season, and even in the earlier stages of the season, they can’t afford to let leaders United pull away from them.
Following two summers of heavy recruitments, Guardiola doesn’t have any excuse left this season, and anything less than a major trophy would be a disappointment this season.
A win on Saturday would surely put City among the front-runners for the league title, but a defeat could raise several eyebrows and leave them five points behind their local rivals United.