Man City can do something Man Utd and Liverpool never have thanks to Guardiola

Guardiola delights in Man City reaching Champions League final

Manchester City are threatening to turn the Premier League trophy into their personal property – if the football was not so good to watch this would be getting boring. Five titles in the space of six seasons for the same club has only happened twice before in the history of English football. Liverpool did it between 1978 and 1984 and Manchester United between 1996 and 2001. 

City have joined their exalted ranks on the back of a sprint finish which saw an eight-point deficit to  Arsenal on January 18 overturned in an unstoppable surge to the line. They will not end up reaching the points tallies of the 2018 and 2019 editions but the 2023 title-winning incarnation has proved itself to be too good for the rest again.

The detractors believe there is a simple explanation for all the success. They will point to the financial fair play charges brought against City by the Premier League in February. The judgement of the independent commission – when it eventually sits – will decide how history ultimately judges this period.

But living through it, if you enjoy football from the gods, it is impossible not to appreciate the spectacle. Pep Guardiola has shaped a team capable of turning a game into an art installation.

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It has helped this season having the most deadly striker a Premier League campaign has seen. Erling Haaland has been a goalscoring phenomenon and his presence has evolved the way City play but they remain a mesmeric watch. Guardiola sees football through a unique lens.

Not many managers would have imagined John Stones as a hybrid midfielder. Not many would have booted Joao Cancelo into the long grass. But he has the creativity to push the boundaries and the courage of his convictions to turn those thoughts into reality.

He has been a gift from heaven to the English game. In an inadvertent way the levelling of the FFP charges helped City this season. They dropped the day after City had just lost 1-0 to Tottenham and prompted an impassioned loyalty vow by Guardiola that sounded suspiciously like wagons being circled.

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All of a sudden City possessed a cause – ‘The world is against us, let’s show them…’ And they have. Since then, City have picked up 40 out of a possible 42 points in the league. The “happy flowers” that Guardiola criticised in January have evolved into venus flytraps, chewing up opponents home and away alike.

City have been relentless since domestically. So the trophy stays at the Etihad for another season and as long as Guardiola stays who is to say it will not do so again next year? No club has ever won four league titles in a row. There is more history to be made by City yet…

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