There always comes a day, when somebody or something who has proven themselves time and again rise up to the top and sweep away the rest. It is safe to say that something of this sort occurred with Manchester City this time in the Premier League. Initially competing for the title, this team had been working hard for several years and were making their way to the top. This year, undoubtedly some extraordinary records have been set by them, indeed leaving a standard for other teams to live up to. They have set a record in every arena possible, all with great tactics, leadership, and hard work. Let us dive in deeper and have a glance at the great win by Man City and how they went about it.
Man City made a record of a whopping 106 goals! breaking the Chelsea record of 103. It holds the highest position in the three-figure record, which is only 4 in total. Also, out of the 4, two have been scored by Man city themselves: 102 and 106. The team made a record of 100 points, becoming the first team to do so in a season. Racing fast towards success, they left a huge gap with the second placed team – Manchester United, of 19 points! They beat the goal difference of +71 set by Chelsea in 2009-10 by setting it for +79. They recorded 32 wins this season, setting the record for the highest: beating Chelsea’s 30 wins. Wow, all of these achievements have indeed taken the world by storm.
It is important to credit all the players who put in their ‘sweat and blood’ and their teamwork in order to trump all the records set before and get this win. The age of this year’s squad had been consciously pulled down by Pep Guardiola and there were younger players pulled in such as Benjamin Mendy and Ederson and older players were let go of. It also appeared as though the subsequent wins were boosting the morale of the team to the point that each player was the best version of themselves, inciting rumours that probably they all peaked and it might not happen again. Kevin De Bruyne, the ‘Etihad player of the season’ for his exceptional performance this time, himself was concerned about the intensity of their win. He says: “We all knew if we get 100 points it would be something so special and it is probably very difficult to manage again,”. He also went onto say a few more things: “It was the only thing to play for and, if you end the season that way, last minute, last kick of the season, and you get 100 points, it feels unbelievable. “In the end, we broke the record – 100 points is something special. Three digits are very difficult to manage again and to be part of that means a lot.”. The squad- depth (which essentially stands for the strength of the lineup) was one of the strongest we have seen in a long time. Several players stood out this time: Ederson, David Silva, Ferhandinho. Also, players like Otamendi and Fabian Delph surprisingly outperformed themselves and yielded great results for the team.
Pep Guardiola is the man everyone has been hailing as the reason behind such a great success by Manchester City. Man city has been in the making for around a decade now and despite having won in 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, nothing like this has ever been done before. In 2016, he took the reins for Manchester city and the team was unable to win any trophies that season which he constituted as a ‘failure’, since, this was his only time as the coach when the team had won a total of zero trophies. Probably, that loss made him desire for something a lot better the next season, a chance to prove himself and the team, to redeem himself. Guardiola did stand up to his word and noticeably he worked on the all the weaknesses and the gaps. He focused on the defensive positions that required attention; in particular, the goalkeeper and the full-back position. Man city is also known for its free-flowing football technique, which is not only a delight to watch but also a winning method that has been employed by several teams. High pressing is another tactic that he and several other teams have been employing for a long time. For Man City, he altered the tactic and took it a step further, by using the fact that players cannot be offside from a goal kick and thus, ensuring that a goalkeeper with a good kicking force is stationed to kick the length of the field. He talks about tactics: “You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition’s goal. It’s not about passing for the sake of it.” “In all team sports, the secret is to overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its own defense to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak.”
Indeed, this was one breathtaking experience for everybody who was a part of it, as a player, coach, owner and definitely for a fan.
“The team is amazing. I’ve never had the chemistry in a team that I’ve had this year and I’ve been playing almost 10 years of professional football so that says it all. The team is very good together and that’s why it’s been so special.” – Kevin De Bruyne