When Guardiola was appointed as the manager of Manchester City in 2016, many eyebrows were raised and at some time many skeptics and critics already said that his possession style of football will not work in the Premier League due to the nature of the league were the team will fight until the final whistle. True to many skeptics, Guardiola had several first-time failures in his first year with City. With City in the first year for the first time in his managerial career, he had failed to win a single trophy, not finishing in top 2 of the domestic league as City had finished 3rd in his first season and for the first time ever failed to progress beyond the second-round knockout stages in UCL. Guardiola managed team always minimum will progress to the semi-final stages and City represents his first-time failure in the tournaments. The critics and the football pundits are more than happy to say that his style will never work in the Premier League.
However, in the second season, he had managed City to the level where they had put up a performance that is never seen before in the Premier League. Manchester City had managed to win the league while creating numerous Premier League record. City become the first team to win the Premier League with 100 points a feat that not been accomplished even in the Old First Division where they are 42 games, winning 18 consecutive games , most goal scored in the Premier League 106 goals, and also had the best goal difference with plus 79 and 19 point ahead of the second team which is another record. They had outplayed even producing a brand of football that is unable to be matched by most of the team in the Premier League.
They all-conquering City in the 2017/18 season had put them in the comparison with another team that had swept all before them and that is non-other than the Invincible Arsenal in 2004. They too had produced a brand of football that is not seen before in Premier League and at the some, they had won the Premier League undefeated and had created a new record of 49 games unbeaten run which beat the previous record of 42 games which is held by Brian Clough Nottingham Forrest. Both teams will be compared in today’s articles.
But before the comparison made, they are some similarities between these team. Both team managers had taken severe criticism on the season before they had made the record-breaking performance in the next season. Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager had claimed before the start of the Premier League in the 2002/03 season that his team can go unbeaten. The story of the Arsenal this season is they had been beaten by Everton by a Wayne Rooney wonder goal and had collapsed dramatically and conceded the title to Manchester United even though at one stage they had opened an 8-point lead. Guardiola meanwhile comes with a great reputation however which each defeat he was criticized and was seeming to prove that his style of football will not work in Premier League.
Both teams somehow sharing a similar fate too in the UCL. Both teams had managed to progress to the quarter-final before they had been knocked by an English team. Arsenal was knocked out by Chelsea and Manchester City had been knocked out by Liverpool. Another similarity shared by the team manager Arsene Wenger and Guardiola are both had been inspired by Johan Cyruff Ajax team and the Holland Total Football while Guardiola too had been trained and flourished his skill under Johan Cruyff. The similarities end here.
While Arsenal had been the better team as they had been undefeated but when analyzed further things can be different. In football for an example, the beautiful player will always be appreciated that the one who is effective but less skillful. For example, France Baresi had been hailed as one of the greatest defenders of all time, but he had never won a Ballon d’Or and for the football fans who had seen his brilliant and superhuman performance in the 1994 World Cup final, will know that he did deserve the award. Guardiola Barcelona had been hailed as one of the greatest football team ever but they are still some who argue that they did not win the UCL trophy consecutively to cement their legacy as the greatest club team ever but that Barca team did become the first team to won 6 trophies in a single season a feat that is not matched by any team.
So, when comes to the Arsenal team, the undefeated will be the one factor that will be the deciding factor in making them a better team than Manchester City. The last team that had been hailed as Invincible in the English league is Preston North End in the 1888-1889 season however in that year that served as the inaugural football league, they are only 22 games. They are other teams that had been unbeaten in the league like AC Milan in 1991/92 season, Juventus in 2011/12 season, FC Porto in 2012/2013 season and many more. They are also some team who had undefeated in the league but did not win the respective league like Benfica in 1977/1978 season. The term undefeated can’t be said as one of kind performance as the feat had been managed by other teams too.
In term of the league table, Arsenal team had finished their league season undefeated which 26 wins, 12 draws and 0 defeat. Manchester City had finished their league with 32 wins, 4 draws and only 2 defeats. Arsenal finished 11 points ahead of Chelsea while scoring 73 goals and conceded 26 goals which gave them a goal difference of 47. Arsenal may have finished their season unbeaten but in this season many top teams are struggling with their performance like Chelsea is on the rebuilding process with the new owner Roman Abramovich making his mark in England and Manchester United is struggling to cope with the departure of David Beckham and the below standard performance form their leading striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Arsenal may see unbeaten, but they had 12 draws which an indication that they are many games where they might have escaped from the jaws of defeat but overall it does not represent total domination by a team in the league.
While City needs to face Jose Mourinho Manchester United whom always performed well in the second season, Jurgen Klopp Liverpool, Pochettino Tottenham Hotspurs, and Antonio Conte Chelsea who is the defending champion. The second-place team Manchester United had collected 81 points which a championship point in a normal season. But City bankrolled by Sheik Mansour had swept aside all team where on average they are scoring 3 goals per game and trashing some of the team that been said as a hard and gritty side like Stoke City, Everton, Crystal Palace and even top team like Liverpool, United, and Spurs too had fallen to possession football of City’s Guardiola.
When looking further, Arsenal unbeaten may be the team that can be hailed as the best due to undefeated record but when comes to the total domination of Premier League while at the some playing an attacking football City is a better team than the Arsenal Invincibles. Manchester City had performed one of the finest performances that are never seen before in Premier League where a team is running away and at the some dominating all the team in the league is a feat that will never be matched again in future by any other team. They are maybe some team that will be undefeated but in term getting 100 points and at some time scoring 100 goals with a big gap between the second team it, City is the greatest Premier League team ever and their record and league table indicate that. They are a superior team than Arsenal.