The 12th May 2019 was a day that stuck in the throats of many Premier League supporters as Pep Guardiola’s men basked in the warm sunshine of the South East, after managing to defend their Premier League title. Not even Liverpool’s incredible return of 97 points was enough to stop the City juggernaut, and there was a distinct feeling of dread that Manchester City could begin to do a Bayern Munich or Juventus, and turn the Premier League into a one-club league.
He’s top of the league… 🎵🎵 pic.twitter.com/HSEWq4A8NL
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) May 12, 2019
Nine months on and the warmth of the May sunshine on the Brighton coast is long gone, replaced by a biting winter cold that has left Guardiola’s title hopes for dead.
Sitting 22 points behind Liverpool and having suffered six defeats already this season, Pep Guardiola is in the worst run of his managerial career and respite doesn’t look like it will be coming anytime soon now that murmurs of discontent in the change room have emerged. Reports are that the City players have grown tired of Guardiola’s tinkering to the side as the Spaniard desperately tries to find a fix to his creaking defense.
It’s no secret that City have been exposed time and time again at the back after conceding 29 goals this season, six more than recently promoted Sheffield United have. This has led to Guardiola practically freezing John Stones out, a man that City paid £47m for in 2016. An error-strewn performance at home to Crystal Palace in mid-January has seen Stones play just 17 minutes since, with teenager Eric Garcia named ahead of the England man during their 2-0 defeat to Spurs. In fact, Stones wasn’t even on the bench.
So here you have Pep Guardiola, only nine months since he said City would be better – following their league clinching win against Brighton on 12th May – leaving out players he spent a fortune on for kids who are still in school, while Liverpool are no longer even within sight. How quickly has this all fallen apart? Quicker than a Mo Salah-driven counter-attack at Anfield on a European night, that’s how quickly.
It seems like the only accolade that City will be affiliated with this season is the Golden Boot award given that Sergio Aguero is the favorite to win it at 6/4. In fact, if punters want to place the best football bets on City this season then that will be it given how pearshaped it has all gone.
🔹 Pep Guardiola in the @premierleague since 2016:
🏗️2016/17: P38 W23
🏆2017/18: P38 W32
🔜2018/19: P37 W31
— Manchester City News (@ManCityMEN) May 11, 2019
Of course, they look primed to beat Aston Villa in the League Cup final but this City side have shown that they are more than capable of not turning up and even when they do, their defense is normally breached.
It’s quite remarkable to think that in the blink of an eye, City have gone from winning back-to-back league titles to looking like a team that can’t be trusted to win. After you accumulate 198 points in two seasons, it doesn’t seem like you’re ever going to stop winning, but here we are: the Premier League has bodychecked Pep Guardiola and told him to come back after he’s readdressed his ideas.