1City mix style and substance
Pep Guardiola made it clear when he arrived the best way to win major trophies is to play possession-based, high-pressing, attacking football.
His years playing under Johan Cruyff were crucial in developing his understanding of the game, and the principles he learned under the Dutchman remain central to his approach.
After a trophyless season last time out, some questioned his philosophy, but he refused to budge, remaining true to the style that had brought him so much success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
He has been absolutely justified in doing so.
The football City have played has been wonderful to watch. We’ve scored 93 goals (and counting) and we’ve lost just twice. We have the best defensive record and currently have a 16-point lead over our nearest rivals. We score freely, work remarkably hard to win the ball back when we lose possession and have shown an insatiable appetite to keep winning.
We haven’t just won the title, we’ve blown the opposition away and fully deserve to be in the conversation about the best teams to ever win the title.
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Winning the title with five games to spare does bring the danger of complacency. Will the players ease up with the title in the bag?
How does Guardiola keep them focused, particularly with a World Cup just around the corner?
However, plenty of milestones remain. City can still set multiple Premier League records, including number of points, number of goals, winning margin and number of wins. This side could go down in history if we keep producing between now and the final game of the season.
And there are also some personal targets. Benjamin Mendy will be hoping to force his way into the side, and the Club’s most promising youngsters will want to earn chances to shine.
Guardiola, a man driven by a desire to win, will not allow this squad to ease up. Expect the same level of intensity over the final furlong.
3Seeds sown on US soil
The importance of City’s preseason tour of the US cannot be underestimated.
In terms of preparation, it was near perfect, with the Blues taking in three high-quality matches in front of capacity crowds.
Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham – three of Europe’s best sides – provided the opposition in Houston, LA and Nashville, respectively.
Each game was played with high intensity, and each game posed difficult tactical questions, with Guardiola and his staff given world-class training facilities between matches to hone the squad.
New signings were blooded, youngsters given a chance and different systems trialled. The players came back to England in exceptional physical condition, with a brilliant atmosphere developing.
4Young squad can improve
One of the subtler aspects of Guardiola’s time in charge has been the steady reduction in the age of the squad.
Under the Catalan’s watch, older players have been allowed to leave, replaced by high-quality youngsters with the potential to become world-class.
The average age of City’s squad this season is just 26, with the likes of Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and John Stones providing a solid platform for sustained success.
Hopefully, our two trophies the season are just the beginning for this talented, youthful group of players.