5 dramatic changes at Manchester City that allowed them to succeed in 2017/18
While it might be premature to call Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team the greatest Premier League side of all time, if they can follow up their performance in 2017/18 with something equally as great then it’d be hard to argue with the idea. Guardiola’s men have simply romped to the title in style, and with three games to go they’ve already broken the 100 goal mark and have only lost twice.
It’s been a marked improvement from their showing in the 2016/17 campaign, a season that saw them finish 3rd and lose 6 games along the way. So what’s changed in a year and how has Guardiola turned City’s fortunes around to make them so dominant? Here are five of the biggest changes he’s made in order to ensure City’s success.
#1 Pep now understands the nature of the Premier League
The Premier League is a trickier competition to get to grips with than some might think. While English teams haven’t dominated in Europe in the last decade, a lot of that could be to do with the strength in depth that the Premier League has – meaning the top sides, Manchester City included, have to work harder to beat the lower teams than a Barcelona or Real Madrid would have to do against similar sides in La Liga.
City fell foul of that in 2016/17, as while their losses, for the most part, came at the hands of fellow title contenders like Tottenham and Chelsea, it were the draws against lower sides like Southampton, Stoke and Middlesbrough that probably kept the title from their grasp.
2017/18 however has seen Guardiola really impose his style of playing onto his team until it’s become second-nature. That in turn has meant less slip-ups against lower sides and the results show it – points dropped on only 5 occasions compared to 15 in 2016/17.
More to the point, Pep’s side are now tougher and more streetwise, as their ability to score late goals to secure points shows. A total of 9 points have been earned due to City scoring goals after the 80th minute of a match, and while they’d still be leading the league without those points, they wouldn’t yet have been crowned champions.
Add the ability to score late goals in with the realisation of Guardiola’s free-flowing attacking style, and City have been a much changed – and much improved – outfit this season.