On paper it was clear that Pep Guardiola had a great chance of starting the season well. I think the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd needed more work to find the way to dominate the league again, while City had a lot of good players already in the squad, so just needed a little adjustment.
All three teams bought a lot of great players but I’m not convinced they really focussed enough on the specific quality they needed. I still think Chelsea’s defence hasn’t been taken care of and the attacking force will have problems if one of the key figures gets injured. United, on the other hand, lack the pace we are used to seeing in Mourinho’s sides going forward. Where are the wingers that you usually see dribble past players down the flanks, with plenty of goals and assists?
Man City did a great job in tweaking things and invested in some young stars for the future. For example, they already had Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne, but they added Leroy Sane and the new Brazilian wonder kid that every top team was after, Gabriel Jesus.
Pep goes to work very strategically, understanding what type of players are already at the clubs he takes over, checking that the team already has the players that will understand his philosophy. (If the team is far off then I don’t think he would even consider taking charge of that club).
He then has the amazing record of winning the biggest trophies and making players love his style of play, and then building from there. When Pep wants you, and like any player you want to win trophies, you’d be mad not to consider signing for him. And if you’re in his team you’ll enjoy playing for him, but like every big coach, if you’re not part of his plans you’ll know about it.
There is an unwritten rule that exists everywhere, in any job in the world, and is especially true in football. If you manager doesn’t talk to you or even look at you then you know you aren’t as important to him as the others that he does interact with. And most likely trouble will occur very shortly.
Pep is the same as all the other big managers: they will give you signals that you can recognise as a player. He’s a confident man, sticks to his tactic no matter what happens, and will make sure you do what he says. If not, you’re out.
The one thing the top clubs all have in common is money, so now it will come down to who spends it the most effectively to be the best team in England.