When Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad, The Citizens were expecting a major trophy haul as they had managed to acquire one of the best managers in the European game. However, with no real title challenge, no cup win and finishing third, the Manchester City faithful were not best pleased.
But this season has shown a real change in attitude, and this is what should have been expected when Guardiola arrived last season. Managers these days do not get time to build a side and implement their ideas with the full backing of the board. The owners and chairmen in this country are far too eager to pull the plug on the long-term plan if it suits them in the short term.
There were calls for Guardiola to be sacked as he finished the season without any silverware for the first time in his career. The ones who wanted his head will be grateful that it never happened as his side are unbeaten in all competitions, top of the league and scoring for fun. We are finally seeing what he wanted his side to do last year and that is understandable that it has happened in his second season as these changes in philosophy take time.
After last season, he realised where they were going wrong. The signing of Claudio Bravo was a disaster, so he decided to upgrade to the highly rated youngster Ederson. It was a risk spending vast amounts of cash on a goalkeeper who has only played one full season at the top level in Europe, but it is paying off so far. The Brazilian has conceded just six goals in his first ten league appearances.
Goalkeeper issue sorted. The next step was the defence. The Spaniard had inherited an ageing back line, especially in the full-back positions. With Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksander Kolarov all past their best it was time for a change. Despite being great servants to the club, they needed fresh blood if they were to profit from the new three at the back formation Guardiola had brought with him. Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy were all brought into the squad for a combined £120 million, and the club have shone both defensively as well as attackingly due to their introduction.
Stop goals leaking issue sorted. The next step was midfield. Despite possessing some of the greatest talent the English Premier League had ever seen, Manchester City were struggling to break down some of the top six sides. Such as the 2-0 loss to Spurs or the 3-1 loss to Chelsea both home and away or the 1-0 loss to Liverpool, they struggled to dictate the play in these three games. This season they have found the perfect role for the Belgian maestro; Kevin De Bryune. He has impressed in sky blue for a couple of seasons, but this year he has gone up a gear. His vision to find the technical talent of Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling has been exquisite with sides not able to get close to him.
Midfield creator issue sorted. The next step was goals. Admittedly, City scored the third highest amount of goals last season so finding the net was not a major issue. However, they needed that next gear so they could make the top place. This season has seen Gabriel Jesus go from strength to strength and the partnership between him and his South American teammate Sergio Aguero has prospered. The pair have struck 13 times in the league this year causing a major headache for the opposition defence.
The great thing for the former Barcelona manager is that the goals are not just coming from these two, they are coming from the wingers as well. Sane and Sterling also have 13 league goals between them. The rest of the team have contributed eight goals also meaning that Manchester City are dangerous all over the park.
This impact in his second season was bound to happen. Guardiola is a complex man who knows how the game of football should be played. He demands a lot from his players and expects them to live up to his expectations. This process might have been quicker in Germany but the English game is different, and you can see how well he has adapted to his surroundings.