It has been an excellent four years for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. But, the Spaniard is cutting an increasingly frustrated looking figure on the sidelines this season. That has led to speculation that the former Barcelona legend may be about to turn his back on the Citizens in the summer.
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Premier League Title Defence
Over the past two seasons, we have seen the very best from Manchester City and Guardiola. The centurions in his first title-winning season is still considered by most as one of the best teams that we have ever seen in the Premier League. Guardiola was then able to successfully defend that crown under intense pressure from Liverpool, in what was one of the most gripping title races in recent memories.
However, this season, it hasn’t exactly gone to plan for the Spaniard. The results on the pitch haven’t been what we have come to expect from City. They have already lost six games this season, which is more than the previous two campaigns combined. Much of their misfortune has been down to the injuries that they have needed to put up with.
Bad Injury Luck
City’s luck with injuries was evident before a ball was even kicked as Leroy Sane was ruled out until at least March. Defensive injuries have also put City on the backfoot, with Fernandinho having to play in the centre of defence after injuries to Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
Compared to Liverpool, City have had injuries to players that they couldn’t replace. The Reds have only got injuries this season to players that they had like-for-like replacements for. City’s failure this season also hinges on the fact that they failed to replace Vincent Kompany. It isn’t known whether Guardiola demanded money for another defender, but in essence, the title was lost as soon as they failed to bring in another body.
Champions League Success
Guardiola’s long-term future has been in the air since the summer, with various reports linking him with a move to Juventus. In the same reports, it was indicated that Champions League success this campaign would spell the end to his tenure, as he would have won everything that there is to win. City now have an excellent chance of winning the European prize as they can use their squad smartly in the domestic competitions.
City fans won’t know until the end of the season whether Guardiola will remain at the Etihad next season, but the Premier League will not be as competitive without the Spaniard. Replacing him could prove tricky for City, as many of the top suitors for the role are already in high profile jobs. It could be a change in the times, but City will be hoping that he doesn’t leave a void that’s impossible to fill.