Manchester City´s evolution
Former coach at Villarreal CF (Spain), holds Sports Science degree and UEFA Pro License. He takes us through features of Manchester City's evolution under Pep Guardiola and reasons for their success so far this season.
It´s obvious the difference between the Manchester City 2016-17 and the Manchester City 2017-2018. Mainly it comes from the efficiency on both boxes, defensively and offensively not showing weakness in any of them, scoring many goals and conceding very few, being solid.
The idea of the game is exactly the same, being protagonist and not being contemplative, either playing with one striker, Aguero or Gabriel Jesus or playing with two, and the line of three offensive midfielders,
The clarity on the game, is reinforced with the signings of the full backs, Walker, Danilo and Mendy, which allows to implement the positional play principles.
The positional play is played by players technically gifted, and it demands a lot, mentally and physically, from every player involved in the squad, not just the starters.
Manchester City team tries to cover the pitch with potential passes, through connections between wide triangles and efficient use of space.
The team must be short, it means, defending and attacking as a unit, traveling with the ball, being the ball, the element that organises the game itself (the passes, the spaces created and movements).
The structure of the team, responds to changing conditions, identifying patterns, such as defending big spaces and attacking over short spaces, with the aim of creating an imbalance in the opposition defence.
Football is a very complex game, with a very open and changing nature, but it can be reduced with a clear message to the players and powerful idea of the style you want to develop.
Related to Manchester City’s 2017-18, we can highlight the following ideas :
Dominance of possession to pull the opposition out of shape and create space, being the full backs essential to the system.
The system could be 1-3-1-4-2 or 1-4-1-4-1, with Pep pushing the full backs forwards and playing with energy and intelligence.
Another aspect we can identified is the division on two blocks, connected obviously, with 5 players with defensive sentiments and 5 players with offensive needs. It is linked by inverting the full backs positions, pushing them infield rather than creating overlapping, to facilitates the retention of the ball, and creating one v one situations.
The essence is creating a series of triangles passes options when moving the ball from the back
Here is where the importance of the quality of the goalkeeper comes out, because he is the first player who starts to create numerical superiority.
Players are asked to fit into a fluid system, with a very dynamic structure, adopting a massive variety of roles, attacking and defending, wide and deep, maintaining a minimum of balance to prevent counterattacks from the opposition.
It ́s a real and beautiful challenge for Manchester City, to adapt to the demanding Premier League championship, where the culture and society are accustom to different approach.