How Manchester City, Barcelona, PSG & Bayern Munich won the title in dominant fashion
Manchester City, Barcelona, PSG and Bayern had the transfer strategy, the technical and tactical abilities to win the title early.
The season for club football is coming to an end and it's time to consider the big winners (and the losers) of domestic competitions. While certain contests, such as the Serie A, are likely to go all the way through to the end of the season in determining a winner, some of the top European leagues already have their champions.
Some of these teams have already been offered the winners' medal, and for some, this is a matter of formality. Today we take a look at four teams that took control of their local competitions early on and never let go of the control.
Here's how they managed and what football clubs can learn from this.
(All data and stats come courtesy of www.whoscored.com)
Manchester City - English Premier League
City's defeat last week to Manchester United merely delayed the inevitable. Their victory over Spurs, coupled with United's miserable display against lowly West Brom have made things official. At the end of a great season, Pep Guardiola's side is to lift the Premier League trophy. It's a worthy honor and it represents another mission accomplished for the Spanish manager.
What led to City's impressive success? First of all, a successful transfer strategy benefiting from a €300 million budget. The defensive line, in particular, was significantly improved with the addition of players such as Ederson, Walker, Mendy, Danilo. While City's rivals also invested in major transfers, none of their newcomers were able to help their teams to the same extent.
Guardiola finally had his dream team in place and the results showed. The team managed to score the highest number of goals, while conceding the least. In fact, City left the impression that any of its players were fully capable of scoring goals when most needed.
The Spanish manager's vision for his team came to fruition in his second season in England. While many doubted that the strategy which had worked in La Liga and Bundesliga would be as successful in the Premier League, the manager has certainly managed to prove them wrong.
City has held a firm grip on the competition and their efficiency is an important factor in their success. The team has had a passing accuracy rating of 88.7% and average possession of 65.9%. They have also averaged 2.8 goals per game. It's especially impressive considering this has happened in a competition that boasts having some of the tighest defenses in European football.
Guardiola was given free reign to assemble his team at the start of the season and he took full advantage of this freedom. Spending a record amount to ensure his tactical vision would come to fruition, City took control of the Premier League from its first matchdays. The season started in August of 2017 and it took until January 2018 for the team to lose its first EPL game. The early momentum meant their biggest rivals had to play catch-up for the rest of the campaign.
Manchester City have a 16 points advantage over their nearest rival, Manchester United and with five matches left to go, they are mathematically champions. It is for the first time that the team has won the competition since 2014.