The 'Guardiola effect' loses strength in the Premier League

The figure of the Catalan coach has been questioned and many have even questioned whether he would be signing the worst season of his career.


Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is second in the Premier League with sixteen points. A season in which they aspire to get their third consecutive league title in England and, instead, again have the tough competition of Liverpool in the highest zone of the leaderboard. After their epic battle last year, everything indicates that they will have to fight from you to you with those of Anfield.

The figure of the Catalan coach has been questioned and many have even questioned whether he would be signing the worst season of his career. The Etihad Stadium team is signing an irregular start of the season (three trips in eight days) that would complicate the goal of being champions again for the third time in a row in England. But, in addition, a fact: possession.

Guardiola has been characterized in his professional career as a coach for offering and having a touch style where the possession of the ball was the cornerstone. Everything revolved around the ball. Everything revolved around possession. His style generated a physical wear on the opponent that, added to the individual quality of his stars, ended up defining the goals by scoring, making a difference abysmally. A way of training, directing, and living football that made him enter the history of the king's sport for his spectacular period as coach of Barcelona, which was subsequently reflected in the golden success of the Spanish National Team by the Barça players they were summoned.

Spain, Germany and England. LaLiga, Bundesliga and Premier League. Three countries, three different clubs that have already lived in the first person the presence of the Catalan coach. However, it is now, being coach of Manchester City, when it seems that the game of touch and possession, his great personal brand, the key to his style on the benches, seems to be living the worst of times. And it is not about subjective or popular sensations. The data is very relevant: English football is eroding the 'Guardiola effect'.

Manchester City possession data is declining in recent years. The great key to the style of the already famous 'tiki taka' seems to be resisting in the British Isles, where historically football routines called the rustic, the physical. The historical roots that differentiated between rugby and football in their respective births left their mark on the world of king sport. Therefore, the challenge of seeing an English team playing with a touch style, pampering their possessions, wearing out rivals with long periods of circulation and not so much direct and intense football, was a tough test for Guardiola. And the pressure seems to be making a dent.

Manchester City is significantly lowering its possession data in the Pep Guardiola period as a coach:

Season 2016/17: 60.4%

2017/18 Season: 66.4%

Season 2018/19: 64%

Season 2019/20 *: 61%

* Current season

His first year in England resulted in a general setback. From his sports aspirations to purely sporting aspects. That 2016/17 season began in the context of an expected new battle on the benches between Guardiola (Manchester City) and Mourinho (Manchester United), but nevertheless both projects were shipwrecked and the title ended up going to Stamford Bridge for a Chelsea of Conte that champion was crowned. That Manchester City has already lowered its average possession. Guardiola came from having an average possession of around 65% and the 2016/17 campaign translated into 60'4% .

The following season was that of success, of the total implementation of style, of the philosophy of touch and possession. That Manchester City was authoritarian and won the Premier League in a capital way. The average possession suffered a considerable improvement from 60.4% to 66.4%. But it would be the only season in which the style of possession would feel 'comfortable' in the English context, where the physical tends to gain ground.

A year later, at the end of the 2018/19 season, the average fell again. Now up to 64% possession in their league matches. A campaign that resulted in domestic success, but had a tough rival in the ranks of Liverpool. Two clubs that signed a capital season, forcing the final outcome until the last day, for a minimum distance of only one point and that caused the first downturn of the style of touch.

However, currently, at this start of Premier League, the average possession of Manchester City continues to sign downward, downward percentages of possession. After the first eight days, those of Pep Guardiola are congregating a 61% possession. That is, again they would be seeing barriers to firmly implant the touch style.

Average league possession of Pep Guardiola, by stages:

Barcelona, 65.5%

Bayern of Munich, 66.1%

Manchester City, 62.95%

In general terms, the difference in possession reveals that its domain is smaller compared to stages in Spain and Germany. Taking into account the individual, temporary terms of each of his league seasons, Guardiola has signed 3 of his worst records as a coach when it comes to possession being a Manchester City coach.

In his first year, with 60.4% he was the worst of his career in this regard. However, the second in the ranking is more recent, as I would be signing today, in this Premier League, with 61%. The third was not in England, but in Spain, being a coach of Barcelona, with 63.7%. But in fourth position the English tournament reappears, since it was last season, with 64%. That is, three of the four worst records in his career have signed them in the British Isles.

This season he lowers his average possession again. In general terms, in addition, it is demonstrated that, first, it continues to lower its percentages in England and, second, on the bench of Manchester City it does not manage to dominate both the games as it did in Barcelona and Munich.

Rustic football against touch football. Direct football against possession football. The eternal tactical rivalry that now (in a territory where football culture tends to the opposite of Guardiola philosophy) seems to be equalizing and where the 'tiki taka' seems to be suffering more than the account.



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