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Manchester City’s dream of having Pep Guardiola hold the reins finally is a reality.
Their desire of wanting to bring in the Spaniard hasn’t been a secret as it was well known that they wanted the former Barcelona coach to come in and recreate that kind of success.
He will face extra expectations from his new owners as well as fans but realistically, this is what we can expect from the Spaniard’s first season in charge.
Youth to get opportunities
Kelechi Iheanacho was the only young player to shine under Manuel Pellegrini, but expectations have been raised under Pep Guardiola.
This would obviously not be surprising given Guardiola started his coaching career with a youth team before taking over the reins at Barcelona and achieving great success with the Catalan giants and later with Bayern Munich.
At Barcelona, Guardiola was instrumental in the development and rise of Gerard Pique, Pedro and Sergio Busquets.
Kingsley Coman and Joshua Kimmich were regular starters at Bayern.
The manager has already said that the City academy’s talents will get opportunities to impress and things look promising for the likes Pablo Maffeo, Aleix Garcia and others.
Guardiola has also acquired highly rated youngsters John Stones, Leroy Sane and Oleksandr Zinchenko and he also has Iheanacho, Jason Denayer and Raheem Sterling already in the ranks.
Success for the future, rather than short fixes
In total, Pep Guardiola has won 21 major trophies in seven seasons, an absolutely brilliant record but his own comments have suggested he wants supporters to be patient and not expect the club to sweep up all the trophies in the offing.
Considering the kind of competition that is expected this season with the high profile managerial appointments and TV money strengthening even the bottom clubs, Guardiola’s demeanour of caution makes sense.
City have made all the right moves in the transfer window and the signs are extremely encouraging right now; however, regrouping the team which regressed in Pellegrini’s last 18 months will take time and the supporters must be patient.
They have the man they wanted three years back, and now must be patient with him.
Defence to do marginally better
For some years now, Manchester City’s weak area has been the defence.
Vincent Kompany’s uncertain fitness has proved to be a major problem for City in the past. In the captain’s absence, the team has often laboured with a lack of organisation at the back.
Martin Demichelis has departed the club, which would have only left Otamendi, Eliaqum Managala and Jason Denayer at centre-back but the signing of John Stones further strengthens the back.
Bacary Sagna and Alexandar Kolarov are available in full-back positions while Joe Hart would be the club’s starting goalkeeper.
However, the defence still looks like the weak-link for the side.
In the pre-season fixture against Arsenal, City’s defensive problems were on display. Guardiola spoke about Fernando playing at centre-back and that might well be the case if his traditional centre backs don’t do very well.
Sterling to get back to his Liverpool best
The England international arrived with a lot of pressure considering how well he did at Liverpool the season before.
There was more pressure to perform because of his price tag (£49 million) and the manner in which he left his former team.
However, after starting the season well, he wasn’t able to carry that form and declined as the season went on.
The arrival of Guardiola has been encouraging for the player and the Spaniard has backed Sterling to thrive. Sterling will have more competition this season in Leroy Sane and Nolito.
Guardiola’s tactical approach also makes Sterling an attractive option to have in the side and the two can compliment each other.
Sterling’s big strength is his positional strength, as he is very disciplined and good at helping his side maintain a good attacking shape.
He is also good on the ball, and importantly without it as well.
The former Liverpool forward has the potential to become a very valuable commodity for Guardiola.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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