Match Coverage

Swansea 1-3 Manchester City: What We Learned

Pep Guardiola can unlock Aguero’s full potential

Kun Aguero returned from his suspension today with two well taken goals. He now has eleven goals in all competitions this season with five of them coming in the league. His first today was vintage Kun, taking a smart touch to turn his defender and then firing a lightning-quick strike in-between Fabianski’s legs.

It’s strange to think then that Aguero, for all his talents, has never had that one truly monstrous season. He’s either seen his season plagued by injury or troubled by a month or two of poor form ever since he arrived. Gary Neville once said that Aguero was a “45 goal a season man” yet Kun has only (and I say that lightly) hit 30 goals or more in a season twice. Sergio Aguero is certainly capable of reaching the heights of Luis Suarez, who is undisputedly the best striker in the world. But can Pep Guardiola help him realise that?

Manchester City’s counter-attacks

A lot was said prior to Guardiola’s arrival about the impact and footprint he’d leave on English football. He changed the way it was played in top leagues like Spain and Germany and those countries even won a World Cup while he was managing there. He influenced the styles in which the national teams played too, prioritising technique over speed in Spain and intelligence over power in Germany. Therefore, it’s surprising to think that if Pep Guardiola was going to revolutionise English football, it wouldn’t be by forcing everyone else around him to start knocking the ball around, it’d be by making everyone else…defend better.

Manchester City’s counter-attacks are becoming simply too lethal for Premier League teams to deal with. The Premier League has a reputation for being a league where defending isn’t prioritised, where power and pace are usually the first attributes measured against every defender. And that is exactly why a structured attacking system can be so successful here. Jurgen Klopp has found considerable success playing that way, particularly against big teams who are willing to afford him that space and so to Pep Guardiola. But it will be Pep’s notorious obsession with positioning, lined-out boxes from where certain players cannot move from and the freedom he offers his midfielders that will shake the foundations of defending in this league. It will be Pep who will provoke a complete revision of how teams should defend.

Wasteful and Leaky City

Manchester City were extremely wasteful against Swansea today, with De Bruyne and Gundogan guilty of not putting the game to bed. While you might point out that Manchester City have scored more goals than anyone else in the league, it’s important to remember that City also churn out an extraordinary number of chances too, chances which are not being converted. And that sort of wastefulness could come to haunt City against a top team like Barcelona where opportunities may not be as plentiful.

Fernando Llorente’s goal also left City with only one clean sheet in the league this season. While we’ve certainly improved on the defensive shit-shows of last season, Pep will be distraught at the amount of times we’ve failed to shut up shop. His teams are almost always the best defensive teams in the league and according to Xabi Alonso, he prides himself on that more than his team’s attacking prowess.

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