Pep Guardiola has been very vocal about why Manchester City need to avoid complacency. He is speaking from experience as he has seen his sides succumb to early season poor results after winning the title. In 2010, his Barcelona side suffered a 2-0 home defeat to newcomers Hercules in the opening game of the season.
In 2014, his Bayern Munich side also failed to win two out of their first four matches at the beginning of the season.
The Premier League is arguably more competitive than both the Spanish and German leagues and such early season capitulation can cost the team the title. With history showing that no Premier League side has been able to defend the title in the last decade, City cannot afford any complacency.
City had a relatively easy run to the title last term, other title rivals have geared up to challenge that this time around. Leading the way are Liverpool and Chelsea. The Reds made their intentions known with marquee signings that showed they are serious about knocking City off their perch.
Jurgen Klopp’s side has maintained a 100% record to the start of the season with four wins out of four . But they are not the only ones. Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea are not only talking tough, they are showing their ambitions on the pitch too. And the fact that Chelsea have won the Premier League title in two of the last four seasons shows they cannot be taken lightly.
But Guardiola understands the situation and has promised an improvement from his team. City dropped points away to Wolves in their third match. But even though he had considered the one point collected a good one, he also realises the importance of the team continuing from where it stopped last term.
Speaking after the hard-fought 2-1 win over Newcastle United, the Catalan assured that his team will put in more moving forward.
”We will improve,” he stated. “It’s almost impossible after the World Cup, after what happened last season, mentally for the players and everybody to be in the best condition.
”We need more time and after the international break the season starts properly in terms of having games every three days.
”What we have to do is what we have to do – try to be better than the opponent every single game, try to follow what we spoke about and prepared.
”This period, in the five official games we’ve played, it’s happened. We would like to score more goals but we created the chances,” he concluded.
City conceded an easy goal against Newcastle that shows more work needs to be done in defence. That’s more so when the team has failed to keep a clean sheet in three out of four league matches played.
Upfront, City also need to do better. Sergio Aguero grabbed a hat-trick against Huddersfield. But that has been that. He has failed to score in three other league games. Failing to score in three out of four games is not consistency.
Raheem Sterling’s two in three is fair enough. But Gabriel Jesus has had even less; one in four matches for a striker is not great. Again there is room for improvement for the Brazilian. And indeed, for the whole team.
Fernandinho has not been in the impeccable form he was last season. The manager is still tinkering with the defence. Last season’s pass master, Nicolas Otamendi is yet to feature. Leroy Sane has had issues. Not to mention the fact that our best player in the last campaign is out injured.
Thankfully, most of our players are not involved with their national sides during this international break. This will give them two weeks of much needed rest to get back ready to do what they do best.