Five league titles in the last six seasons with the same club is something only a few managers can achieve in their lifetime. For Pep Guardiola, this is not an overachievement, but a reward for continuous hard work put in on the training ground and on the field. This season’s triumph has been far from easy with the number of games played, opposition toughness and fatigue in a number of fixtures.
Arsenal had kept Manchester City at bay for quite a few months and many wondered if the Gunners would have what it took to stay on top until the end. The turning point for many was the game between both sides at the Etihad, where Man City systematically broke down and destroyed Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s resistance with a few games to go in the season. It was only a matter of time before the Blues would receive their third consecutive Premier League trophy, cementing their dominance in English football.
THE WINNING STREAK
Many fans and pundits alike were careful in their predictions concerning who would have what it takes in the home stretch of the title race. The primary reason for this cautious approach was Man City’s history in the last 10 games of the season over the last few years. Pep’s side have constantly gone on unbelievable winning streaks in the last 10 games of the season making them favorites to recapture their title. As expected, they came through with the goods when it mattered the most.
Before playing Chelsea on Sunday, Manchester City had won their last 12 consecutive PL games and added to that number in the game preceding their coronation. This winning streak has become a tradition for the club and the players involved have constantly delivered when it reaches the home stretch of the season. Man City are currently on a 24 game unbeaten run and have hit top gear ahead of their second champions league final in Istanbul this June.
Manchester City stars just keep getting better and better each season. This year, they seem to have reached another level in their careers. Erling Haaland’s name has been the name on the lips of many for his amazing form in front of goal. The Norwegian has shattered every single record there is in the league. This has overshadowed some other players who have evolved but that has not had a bearing on the team.
When Pep Guardiola shifted John Stones into midfield, eye brows were raised with many questioning the rationale behind the move. After a few games in the role, these questions were answered and Stones has grown into the role and contributed greatly to the success of City in the second half of the season.
One other player who has benefitted from the tactical nous of the manager is Ilkay Gündogan. Last season, the German developed into a huge presence in the box scoring eight times in the league. This season, the club captain has matched his tally from last season with an opportunity to go a step further in the final game of the season over the weekend. Despite his contractual issues, the German has remained professional and delivered when it was needed most.
Jack Grealish has started justifying his sizeable price tag with sustained top-level performances over the season. In his second season, he has looked like the Grealish we knew at Villa and has delighted fans with his form throughout the season. The myth of Guardiola’s players getting better in their second season has seemingly been confirmed.
It’s been a long and gruelling season for City and Guardiola, but with two finals that give them a crack at the treble, it’s definitely going to be taken even more serious. After Sunday’s dead-rubber match all attention shifts to Wembley and Istanbul in June.