Is the contention for the Premier League title becoming a six-horse race? Things are continually changing on the table and it’s great to monitor if you are a neutral.
The Manchester derby saw a magnificent performance by the Blues today, with the talking point of the game undoubtedly City’s third goal.
There were 44 accurate passes played by the team before netting the goal at the 86th minute of the game to complete a clinical win over the city rivals. It was the second highest count of passes in English football which had led to a goal, after the 45-pass record of Juan Mata’s goal with Manchester United.
This style of ‘taking the ball, passing the ball’ or better known as Tiki-Taka in Spain has its origin in the Catalan club of Barcelona. Pep Guardiola was one of the primary architects of this style. He was responsible for bringing the glory days to Barcelona football during his managerial era of 2008-2012 with his Tiki-Taka style.
Pep Guardiola was hired the Manchester City manager in the 2016-2017 season at the Etihad Stadium. The critics were highly sceptical of the success Pep would bring to the English club because of the completely different style of football in England.
The Catalan manager did take time to inculcate his style of football in the team, with Manchester City failing to win both Premier League and Champions League during Pep’s first season at Manchester. But once he got started, there was no stopping.
The Guardiola style saw continuous passing in the team, the accuracy of the team improved, the ball moved faster than before, there was more pressing in the forward position, the midfield controlled the entire pace of the game and gradually the former Bayern Munich manager silenced his critics with the success he brought to the club in the following season with this style.
Manchester City won the Premier League trophy last season with a dominating performance of record 100 points in a single league season. This had ended the altogether traditional slow approach to English football.
FC Barcelona has themselves lost its Tiki-Taka approach under the new manager Ernesto Valverde and former manager Luis Enrique. The exit of the club by the legends like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, and retirement of Carles Puyol from the team further weaken the Tiki-Taka style in Barcelona.
The Catalan club has struggled through the form in the recent matches of La Liga with defenders failing to close the gaps. Manchester City having been led by the Tiki-Taka guru Pep Guardiola is certainly implementing the continuous passing style more often than its origin club this season.
We can hope for further delight from the Manchester club in the future at least till Pep is coaching the team and hence, it won’t be incorrect to call Manchester City the new Barcelona of England.