I’ll be blunt: if I was Pep Guardiola, I’d be verrrrry quiet right about now.
Sure, his side Manchester City beat Crystal Palace at the weekend, scoring five goals in the process.
But by and large, this season has been an utter and dismal failure.
Outclassed in the Premier League – with three games to go they’re fourth, 12 points behind the league leaders, who have a game in hand.
Outclassed in the FA Cup, losing to Arsenal in the semifinal.
Outclassed in the League Cup, losing to bitter rivals Manchester United in the last 16.
Outclassed in the Champions League, soundly beaten by Monaco in the last 16.
3. Keep? Sell? Loan?
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 7, 2017
Does that sound the season of a side whose manager is supposed to be one of the best in the world?
It sounds like the season of a club that has had a fair to middling season in the English league.
And that’s exactly what Pep has had.
In one sense, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
After all, the Premier League is competitive. We all know that. It’s hard. Teams must constantly adapt, evolve and improve, otherwise they’re just going to go backwards.
But in another sense, given the aura surrounding Guardiola and the way in which people talk of the Spaniard, this season is utterly unacceptable.
— Premier League News (@BarclaysLeague) May 7, 2017
And yet, despite all this, Pep has the temerity to come out with comments like the ones that followed the Palace game:
“I remember one game where the opponent created more chances. It was at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. The others, no chance. So we are better than all the teams in the Premier League, home and away,”
And as if that wasn’t clear cut enough…
“We are the best team in the Premier League to create clear, clear chances. Nobody can beat us. We are the best one.”
In case you couldn’t be bothered to read the quotes, Guardiola has claimed that his side is the best in the league at creating chances.
A bit pathetic to claim that when you’re lying in fourth sure, but bear with me.
Regardless of how pathetic it is, it’s also simply not true.
There’s a clue in Guardiola’s comment – he said that Tottenham created more chances than City when the two sides faced each other and he claimed that they were the only side to do so.
And Tottenham’s superiority in the “chances created” bracket doesn’t just extend to that one game – they’ve been better than Man City all season, as have Liverpool. Just take a look at this table:
Now, the embarrassment here is two-fold.
Not only did Guardiola get his stats and figures wrong, but he also did whilst he was clutching at straws in an attempt to explain his utter failure during his first season in England.
One wonders whether anyone will buy it, but the bigger question remains: will Guardiola actually improve the team he has been tasked with improving, or will he end up being one of the most expensive managerial flops in history?
The jury’s still out, but surely we’ll know by the end of next season. I can hardly wait.