There’s a reason why many people consider the EPL to be the best domestic league in the world: it is extremely difficult to win.
Only seven clubs have won the title during the Premier League’s 29-year history, and only five have won it on multiple occasions.
On Tuesday, Pep Guardiola and Man City clinched their third title in four years, continuing a dynasty that has really only been paralleled by two legends of the sport, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
This title win and the circumstances in which he made it happen firmly cements Pep in the “legendary tier” of Premier League managers. Here is why.
Winning During The Pandemic
As previously stated, winning the Premier League is a difficult task. Winning it during a global pandemic is a monumental feat. Throughout the league this season, we have seen big clubs, teams that are consistently in the title race, struggle with the difficulties of football in a pandemic.
Liverpool, lead by another great manager in Jurgen Klopp, succumbed to injury fairly early on in the campaign and were never able to bounce back. Chelsea, a title contender at the start of the season in many people’s minds, have been great in Europe but inconsistent in the league, partly because the team has been stricken with COVID-19 issues throughout the year.
Pep has guided Man City through arguably the craziest season in Premier League history, and while the record books won’t give him any extra props for that, I certainly do.
Man City has continued to be dominant despite a rapidly changing football landscape in which Pep’s system appears to be somewhat outdated. Maybe the most remarkable thing about Man City’s title run is that they did so without a true striker for much of the season.
Raheem Sterling played mostly on the left-wing, and club legend Sergio Aguero was never truly fit enough to play the number nine role. Most of Man City’s goals came from the midfield, a rarity in today’s game.
Pep once again outsmarted the rest of the league by relying on his midfielders and wingers, most notably Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, to break down the opposition on the attack. Man City’s defense was also one of the best in the league, mostly thanks to Pep’s full-pitch press. Man City won the league with a brilliant tactical setup straight from the mind of Pep Guardiola.
Elevating His Players
A good manager is able to turn a team of good players in a world-class powerhouse. Pep has done exactly that for pretty much his entire career. Yes, Man City has quite a few superstars in their squad, but their season was really defined by lesser-known players who took their talents to new heights.
Illkay Gundogan, Ruben Dias, and Phil Foden all became household names in Manchester thanks to their breakout league campaigns.
Pep elevates the talent of his players, and he does so on a regular basis. That is the marker of a truly legendary manager.
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