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Did Manchester City score the perfect Pep Guardiola goal in their 3-1 win over Hull on Saturday?
In “Che Pep,” Vicente Muglia’s book dissecting the Catalan manager’s influences, the former Real Madrid assistant boss Angel Cappa recalls a conversation he had with a 23-year-old Guardiola about what would constitute perfection on the football field.
“His ideal goal was one where all 11 players would pass to each other without the opposition touching it and that the last player would put it in the net,” he said. “Years later, when I saw his Barcelona play on the television, I remembered that chat and knew that even back then in Mexico Pep had very clear ideas.”
Guardiola remains true to those ideals to this day.
On Saturday, with City already ahead, Sergio Aguero finished off a move involving every single player. Hull, bamboozled by City’s assuredness in possession, could not get hold of the ball. It was Total Football.
Claudio Bravo, the City goalkeeper, was heavily involved, inviting the opposition to press him to create space in behind before releasing the ball to those around him – but this was a goal that saw everyone play their part.
The ball eventually found its way to Raheem Sterling on the edge of the area and the 22-year-old suddenly found an extra gear that saw him surge past three Hull defenders before crossing for Aguero to score at the back post.
After the game, Guardiola could not hide is happiness at what he'd seen.
“Maybe the second goal is the big example of what we would like to be as a team," he said.
“I don’t like the teams where defenders just defend, the strikers score the goals, the midfielders where one runs and the other is a playmaker, I don’t like this kind of thing. I like everybody involved in the way we want to play, and the defending is the same.
"From the beginning we made the high pressing and tried to make the build-up for that reason, to try to have everybody involved in the game, for everybody to want the ball to play and we were lucky in the second goal that happened.”
It’s undoubtedly the best goal City have scored so far this year and you can watch it in all its beauty via the video above.