Manchester City have reached the Champions League final for the first time in history. Pep Guardiola is the architect of this achievement and now has the chance to win the trophy ten years later, which would be his third one. The formula that has allowed City to get here has two main ingredients: an elite management by him and a wide roster full of talent.
The club has dominated England in the last few years under Guardiola. Only Klopp´s Liverpool has been able to battle him. However, the media and the fans tend to say that Guardiola is an unsuccessful man: he has not earned any champions League with a different team than Barça. Now Guardiola has the opportunity to complete his great job in Manchester and silence the critics.
Manchester City tactical analysis:
Guardiola will put on practice the formula mentioned above in order to conquer the Champions League. What are the details? Guardiola gave fresh air to the team this season with a different method than previous years: new system, new offensive and defensive approaches and tactical flexibility during the games.
For the offensive phase, he decided to dispense with pure strikers (Gabriel Jesus and Agüero, this last one due to an injury) and provide a four-man attacking plus a playmaker line with freedom. Three central defenders and two midfielders in order to support them. On the defensive part, adaptation to the opponent: 1-4-3-3 or 1-4-4-2, some examples below:
City are able to adapt themselves to the rival offensively as well: two out of the four strikers open up as wingers whenever they need width. On the other hand, the forwards´ positions change constantly. A defender or midfielder can join the action in domain phases.
Their flexibility relies on the fact that they choose the right way when and how to press forward or just fall back; carry out counterattacks or keep the ball; send long balls or play on the ground, etc. Juanma Lillo´s addition to the coaching staff has improved even more the work.
Their ideas´ execution is a result of their high level roster. It all starts with Ederson, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, whose playing with the feet capacity is a key for the ‘citizens’. He is a specialist on long balls both with his foot and hand and he proved once again last night with City´s first goal by Mahrez.
Rúben Dias is another crucial player. The Portuguese was signed on the last summer transfer market and his abilities have turned him into the leader on the defensive line: hierarchy, physical strength, intensity, anticipation, game reader, domain in the air… no doubt that he is one of the best central defenders of the season in Europe if not the best. He is the responsible for turning a problem (defense) of the team into a fortress.
Stones and Cancelo also stand out in the first line. The Englishman has exploded this season mostly thanks to the fact that he plays along with a top partner by him. The Portuguese is also performing well in the midfielder role. He has improved on the defensive areas as well and is a reliable player when falling back.
We previously talked about Gündoğan at ELXIIDEAL. He became a scorer when De Bruyne was out due to an injury and now he tends to play between the midfield and the forward area. The Belgian has freedom to move around and is the city´s power. He does everything well: defense, playmaking or attack. He is the best player in the Premier League and one of the best in the world.
Bernardo Silva, Mahrez or Sterling are one of the names that lead the attack. They are all full of talent, but there is a guy who is getting all the spotlights: Phil Foden. He will turn 21 on May 28th and his performances prove that he is one of the most promising players in Europe.
Pep Guardiola himself has praised Foden multiple times and has made it clear that he is special. He will have to talk about him deeply soon. What we really can affirm is that Manchester City have a very high level group of players both in their starting line-up and bench. They will shortly face their biggest challenge until now: the Champions League final.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.