The Premier League has become a juggernaut since being launched in 1992 and it is now widely regarded as the best league in the world. The advancements in technology throughout that period have helped it become what it is today, and it is now possible to watch every kick of the season if you wanted to do so. There are often debates about the best team of the Premier League era, among various other categories that are frequently discussed.
It can now be argued that the league is the best that it has ever been and there is a team beginning to emerge as the best that the division has ever seen. There was a lot of excitement when Pep Guardiola was announced as the new manager of Manchester City during the 2015/16 season. He didn’t take charge until the following summer, but his reputation as the world’s best coach was enough to convince a lot of supporters that the club would now reach new heights.
There will always be criticism for anyone involved in football and the reputation that Guardiola has meant that his every decision was heavily scrutinised in the media. A lot alluded to his CV and that he had only ever taken easy jobs. Manchester City was far from that at the time of his appointment. They may have a lot of finances behind them, but they weren’t in a strong position when he took the job.
It was an ageing squad that needed to be re-hauled and the club weren’t seen as a huge European name. They had not enjoyed a lot of success in the Champions League and their lack of history meant that they weren’t known for that. City were still in the infancy of their journey to the summit of the game and the board recognised the need for a world-class manager. Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini were both respected, but neither have the ability of Guardiola.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager’s reputation preceded him, as City quickly became every pundit’s pick for the league title. However, Guardiola finished 15 points off the top of the table and it was a year of learning for the world-class coach. These quotes reported by the Manchester Evening News show that he benefited from his first season in England.
“I expected to do it quicker but football works like this sometimes. It takes more time but that is fascinating from my point of view. I am a better manager not because of the Premier League or English football but because I have lost more than in my recent past. When you lose more games, you learn more.”
These are fascinating quotes and a rare glimpse into the mind of a coach, who doesn’t rely on clichés when talking to the media. He didn’t panic or lose faith and learned on the job to deliver a team that can dominate the Premier League in a way that hasn’t been witnessed before. The weaknesses in goal and full-back were identified and corrected in the following summer. They are now flying high after securing 40 from the opening 42 points on offer.
Could they become the best team in Premier League history?
During the modern age, everything is over-hyped in football, due to the widespread media coverage and the growing presence of social media. Manchester City are already the overwhelming favourites to lift the title at odds of 1/8, which reflects how dominant they have been so far. It is early days into the Pep Guardiola era, but this team is shaping up to be the best we have ever witnessed in the Premier League.
They have dropped points on only one occasion this season, having beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea already. Their attack is the best in the division by some distance, as they have scored 44 goals in their first 14 matches. This averages at 3.1 goals per game, which is remarkable in a league as strong as the Premier League. In addition to an excellent attack, they have conceded at a rate of less than one a game and their organisation has improved a lot since last season.
As things stand, they are eight points clear at the top of the division and there isn’t a single team that look to be a realistic challenger to City. Their local rivals, United, are in second, but they haven’t been as convincing and their approach in big matches holds them back.
One pleasing aspect from this season has been the improvement of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, as both are now crucial members of the first-team. Guardiola has recruited well with Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Kyle Walker and Ederson coming in among others, but he is able to improve those players that he inherited and that is the mark of an elite coach.
It is too soon to state outright that they are the best team in Premier League history. They have yet to win a trophy with Guardiola at the helm and there is always a chance that they could go on a bad run at some point before May. However, the signs are that this group of players is set to dominate English football for the next few years at least. They look as impressive as Guardiola’s Barcelona team at times and that is no mean feat.
They have a long way to go, but this team could go the Premier League season unbeaten and in a more exciting fashion than Arsenal managed in 2003/4. Furthermore, they have the talent to win every competition they are in. They are that good. At the time of writing, they are one of the leading contenders for the Champions League.
Guardiola arrived as the best coach in the world and despite a disappointing first season, he is now backing up that reputation. There were a few that were too quick to write him off. The Spaniard deserves to be applauded for taking the job at the Etihad Stadium as it was a lot tougher than it was made out to be. He has dominated with two historically world class clubs, but he is now writing a new name into the European elite.