Unless you live under a rock, by now you have surely heard the news that one of the soccer world’s biggest managers is coming to the Premier League next season. That’s right, folks: Pep Guardiola is coming to town.
After much speculation, Guardiola has revealed that Manchester City will be his destination. Given the fact that Manchester City was just crushed 3-1 by Leicester City on Saturday, this might not be a bad thing. It makes you feel slightly bad for the current manager Manuel Pellegrini, under whom Manchester City won the title in 2014. However, when one of the best managers in the world is up for grabs, it is understandable that even successful coaches like Pellegrini are pushed aside. Pellegrini has accepted this turn of events with remarkable grace, stating that he is just focused on the remainder of the season.
With the arrival of Guardiola — a master innovator best known for his “tiki-taka” rapid passing style — and manager Jose Mourinho’s likely move to Manchester United, the Premier League will find itself suddenly graced by the presence of most of the best managers in the world. With the exception of Carlo Ancelotti, who will be taking over for Guardiola at Bayern Munich, the prominent coaching names will be at the prominent English clubs: Guardiola at Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, potentially Mourinho at Manchester United and current Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone over at troubled Chelsea.
It is an exciting prospect. Klopp and Guardiola have over 600 wins between them. Add Mourinho into the mix and that is another 500 wins. All three of these coaches are well-known for their distinct coaching styles and personalities. Mourinho, of course, is a very polarizing figure who focuses mainly on defense. While he knows how to get results, he frequently leaves chaos and tension in his wake, as evidenced by Chelsea’s epic meltdown this season. It is undetermined whether a club like Manchester United would be a good fit for someone like Mourinho, who is very good with short-term results but less so with long-term planning.
Klopp is well-known for his “gegenpressing” style, which emphasizes high-energy attacking and ball pressure. He used this to great effect over at Borussia Dortmund, and it appears to be catching on over at Anfield. Furthermore, Klopp’s personality has completely galvanized Liverpool’s spirits. Guardiola, of course, is a master tactician who is not afraid to change up his style. While he did not achieve the same level of greatness at Bayern Munich as he did at FC Barcelona — 14 trophies in four years — Guardiola is still expected to have an enormous impact at Manchester City.
What does the arrival of Guardiola mean for the Premier League? Certainly, we can expect even more exciting games, especially when the bigger teams clash. It is also very likely that big-name signings will be more attracted to the Premier League now. In the past week alone, it has been rumored that Guardiola will lure Luis Suarez, Neymar and Paul Pogba to join him over at the Etihad Stadium. While most of these potential signings are just rumors so far, it would not be surprising at all to see Manchester City land at least one of these players. One thing is for sure: it is going to be a very exciting year for soccer.
The next few weeks will see the return of Champions League, as well as a very important Premier League clash.
On Valentine’s Day, league-leader Leicester City takes on second-place Arsenal in a game that has title implications. Arsenal is one of only two teams to beat Leicester City this season – the other being Liverpool, which Leicester City just avenged. If Leicester prevails — which I sincerely hope it does — it provides yet another reason the Foxes could very well win the title.
The key Champions League matches are between Arsenal-Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain-Chelsea and Juventus-Bayern Munich. It will be interesting to see whether Chelsea thrives internationally under the new interim manager, although it is highly unlikely that it will beat a PSG side that is unbeaten thus far domestically. Guardiola will surely be motivated to try to capture the Champions League crown in his final attempt with a strong Bayern Munich side, so I do not particularly like Juventus’ chances. The odds that Arsenal gets out of its matchup with Barcelona are very slim, but it should prove to be a good series regardless.
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