CHave a team too right? Could it be that if you have technically brilliant players in every situation, fully assimilated into a clever intelligent system, the result is not a remorseful winning machine, but a slightly colder unit that commands But it has been decided that when disturbance comes he is unable to cope?
After last season’s Champions League exit against Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions his team can’t handle adversities the crisis could sabotage their sophisticated apparatus. But it’s at least intriguing that two of City’s high-profile recent signings, Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland, are both disruptors that don’t seem a natural fit for its fine-ordered universe.
As City are trying to make five Premier League titles in six seasons, a level of dominance in English football has only been achieved twice before, between 1995–96 and 2000–01 by Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and Liverpool. With a run from 1978-79 to 1983-84, Haaland is the most important signing of the summer. His arrival, however, is part of a more general picture of key challengers changing their attacking options. Of the Big Six, only Manchester United have signed a forward so far, but the Cristiano Ronaldo saga could make a big difference to their front row.
Holland is a risk. He is clearly a footballer of astonishing ability, one of those outsized forwards who crop up time and time again and make the game blatantly simple for a while. He has scored 78 league goals in the last three seasons; He has spoken of watching City himself and imagining how many goals he would score in his first appearance for the club, similar to the one he scored in 12 minutes, jabbing in a friendly, pass-less cross against Bayern. But what matters less to City is whether they score 30 or 40 runs in the campaign, whether they can deliver ruthlessness in the big Champions League games in which they just keep falling short.
His rough edges, his temperament, may be what allows him to do this, isolating him from the city system, making his attacking game less predictable. (Are they predictable, and is it a problem if they are? That’s also not clear). City has a clear pattern – one clear city type goal, low cutback for an incoming player – but it works in almost all situations, which is why they have been top scorers in each of the last five league seasons. Huh. The problem is that the situation in which this probably doesn’t work is against the best sides in the biggest games and, by definition, there are very few of them, which means the data set is essentially trivial.
But those rough edges, his sharp self-assurance, could be what creates the friction. Haaland has been open about his admiration for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who lasted just one tumultuous season under Guardiola at Barcelona and ridiculed about the “obedient little schoolchildren” that comprise the rest of the squad. Haaland’s goal against Bayern was set by Grealish and he talked after that game about how he liked their “vibes”.
Grealish, it seemed, was signed on to add a little chaos to the clean passage of the line ahead, a balancing act he admitted he found difficult; His last-day interview in which he described how he was at times reluctant to the demands of the system also revealed anything about the compromises sought by Guardiola’s methods. Perhaps these two can add improvisation that will take the city to greater heights, but it is a risk.
For some time there was speculation about a rehashing of Liverpool’s forward line. Liverpool have been very adept at identifying goals in recent years and are developing without major hindrances, but the loss of Sadio Mane and the inclusion of Darwin Nez in the front three would only make the arrival of Luis Diaz in January. essentially means uncertainty. Diaz was widely seen as a rapid assimilation, but was ineffective in the Champions League final, and there have been concerns that Mane’s move to the center in the second half of last season could affect Mohamed Salah’s form. was coming in the way.
The great Soviet-era coach Valery Lobanovsky observed that the bonds between players at the highest level are at least as important as those between players; Finding a trio whose chemistry had a mutually beneficial effect is extremely difficult. Maybe Salah is bigger than Nez, Diaz Salah, Roberto Firmino, Mane, but it may not be.
It may have been a necessary part of their development, but Chelsea seem to have taken a step back from last season. Adding Raheem Sterling and landing Romelu Lukaku changes the attack dynamics, but Chelsea are looking to outdo each other. That Todd Boehli doing the job of sporting director may not have helped with recruiting, but being repeatedly watched by Barcelona, a club with no money, is a harsh lesson in the chimerical economics of modern football.
In adding Richardson, Tottenham have added depth and variety and should have relieved some of the pressure on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, while Gabriel Jesus came more naturally to Mikel Arteta’s plans at Arsenal than Alexandre Lacazette. Looks fit, even if there are doubts about his finishing.
And then there’s Ronaldo, the one that Albatross United gleefully tied around their necks last season that, despite their best efforts, they seem incapable of giving up. He doesn’t fit into Erik Ten Haag’s system – can’t, and if he somehow stays at the club, especially judging by all the stories about his attitude to practice in training last season, this It’s hard to see how he wouldn’t be a disruptive presence.
The contenders will be the same as ever: City or possibly Liverpool are likely to be the champions and the fight for Champions League qualification will almost certainly be between the familiar six sides. But there is a danger in the rigging of the forward lines and it is in this uncertainty that this season’s title race is the opening attraction.