Are Guardiola’s Man City the Greatest Team Ever?

Since Pep Guardiola took over as manager of Manchester City, the club has been transformed. The season prior, the club finished in 4th place in the Premier League. Since then, with Guardiola’s innovative tactics and thorough coaching methods, they have gone on to break numerous records in English football.

Two seasons after becoming manager, Guardiola won the Premier League title for the first time. His team didn’t just win the league, but won it by a massive 19 points, the biggest points gap in English Premier League history. They amassed the greatest number of PL wins ever (32) and the greatest number of wins in a row (18) during the season.

City were just as formidable away from home, as they achieved the record for most away wins in one season with 16. Their 11 consecutive away wins also matched Chelsea’s record from 2008. The 106 goals they scored in 2017/18 is also the most in a season to date.

Man City won the Premier League the following 2018/19 season with last day dramatics, as Liverpool posed a big challenge just a point behind. They didn’t break records this time – but winning the league against a dogged and tenacious opponent showed Man City’s resilience.

This is Man City’s fourth title in seven years, but this year was extra special because they managed to win back-to-back titles for the first time. The last Premier League club to do so was Manchester United in 2007/08 and 2008/09.

Many pundits now refer to this present Man City team as the greatest of all time, but their world class squad has come at a premium cost. The club was bought by Sheikh Mansour, a successful businessman from United Arab of Emirates, in 2008. He has used his earnings to invest over £1 billion into Manchester City.

This includes £760 million spent on players in the past 5 seasons and just £254.6 returned from selling players. This means Man City have a net spend of £505.4 million in the last 5 seasons, which is by far the highest in the Premier League.

Manchester City are arguably the greatest team in Premier League history in terms of statistics, but Leicester City’s triumph in 2015/16 goes down as the most inspirational achievement.

They had a net spend of £54.98 million after being promoted in 2014, which is very little compared with Man City’s average of £202m net spend every two seasons. No club had ever won the league just two seasons after being promoted from the Championship. Leicester were almost relegated and sacked their manager the season before, which adds to the story as well.

How Man City Compare with Football’s Historic Teams

Manchester City would need to win the Champions League for them to be considered the greatest team in the history of football. Guardiola was visibly disturbed as Raheem Sterling’s goal was disallowed by VAR in the last minute of the 2019 semi-final vs Tottenham, but will surely be working extra hard with his players to win the tournament next season.

The greatest European success story in history is Real Madrid’s five European Cup wins between 1955 and 1960. This is still legendary because only two times have any club won back-to-back European Cups since (Nottingham Forest and AC Milan), although Real only won three league titles over that time.

The last time Guardiola won the trophy was in 2010/11 with Barcelona, who he won the league, Spanish cup and Champions League treble in 2008/09. His Barcelona team were almost unbeatable, as they won three Ligas, two Spanish cups and two Champions League trophies in three seasons.

Manchester United won the treble in 1999 and Bayern Munich had a similar all-round winning season in 2011/12 when they won the German league and cup as well as the Champions League.

Perhaps Manchester City need to achieve a comparable success over one season to prove their critics wrong. However, winning to major domestic trophies for three seasons in a row is unprecedented, particularly in England.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest Man United teams over his 27 years as manager were unable to sustain such consistent success. If they manage to win the Champions League in the next couple of seasons along with continuing their domestic dominance in England, their place as football’s greatest club team will be undisputed.