Guardiola Back at Man City Helm Following Barcelona Surgery
From the sunny avenues of Barcelona to the bustling streets of Manchester, Pep Guardiola is once again back in the Manchester City fold after an unexpected medical hiatus. Having recently undergone an emergency procedure for back pain, the iconic manager is set to resume his place on the touchline. As reported by 90Min, here’s how the story unfolds.
Last month, the luminary of football coaching experienced what was termed as “severe” back pain. It wasn’t long before the Man City maestro found himself in a Barcelona hospital for a swift surgical intervention. Post the successful operation, the Catalan capital became Guardiola’s recuperation haven.
The Guardiola Gap
In the wake of Pep’s sudden leave of absence, the reins of Manchester City were handed over to the trustworthy hands of assistant Juanma Lillo. Under his temporary guidance, the team clinched a nail-biting 2-1 victory against Sheffield United. This was closely followed by a commanding 5-1 domination of Fulham. But, as is always the case with football, the journey had its fair share of heart-stopping moments.
Against Sheffield, City fans felt the pangs of anxiety as they watched an 85th-minute equaliser. It took a last-minute masterstroke by Rodri to salvage all three points. The Fulham fixture had its own set of dramas – mainly stemming from the referee’s whistle (or the lack of it).
Controversial Calls on the Pitch
The Fulham conquest, while appearing straightforward on paper, wasn’t without its controversies. Erling Haaland, City’s hat-trick hero, confessed to doubts over one of his goals. But it was Nathan Ake’s header, turning into the net’s embrace past the vigilant eyes of Bernd Leno, that set tongues wagging.
The bone of contention? Manuel Akanji’s proximity to the ball while clearly offside, albeit without making actual contact. What followed was a protracted VAR assessment, culminating in the decision to allow the goal.
However, the aftermath saw PGMOL’s head honcho, Howard Webb, in reflective mood. In a candid conversation with Match Officials: Mic’d Up, he commented, “From the outset, I want to say this should have been disallowed.” Highlighting the challenges of synchronising multiple viewpoints in real-time, he acknowledged the error in judgment. Webb expressed the unanimous sentiment of always striving for perfection, emphasising the continuous learning curve inherent in officiating football games.
What Lies Ahead
Now, as Man City prepares to lock horns with a rampaging West Ham United, all eyes are on Guardiola. Back in familiar surroundings and refreshed post-surgery, it promises to be an enthralling affair. The City Football Academy buzzes with anticipation. With Pep at the helm, they’re gearing up for yet another chapter in their rich Premier League saga.