Manchester City became the first team to retain the Premier League Trophy in a decade last Sunday after notching 98 points in an incredible season.
The season before was record breaking for Manchester City as we became the first team ever to attain 100 points in a Premier League season. And how did we follow up a record breaking season in 2017/18? Well, we delivered an incredible piece of consistency by getting 98 points! Becoming in the process the team with not only the highest number of points ever (100) but also the team with the second highest number of points (98)!
So under Guardiola this current City squad have certainly achieved something most of the pundits thought was impossible. Right now City also stand on the brink of securing an unprecedented domestic Trophy treble. How does Guardiola motivate and get this squad ready to maintain, or perhaps even improve this points haul?
Last Summer City surprised many fans by only adding a single first team player to our record breaking squad – Riyad Mahrez. Somehow, that tactic seemed to work as the “tough love” espoused by Pep Guardiola seemed to cajole the team into performances.
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However with a clear head, looking back over last season we know as fans there have been some issues which have dogged our side and have reached the critical point where they need addressing if we are to turn the last two seasons into a period of real dominance.
We have operated for two seasons without a coherent left back thanks to the efforts of Zinchenko. We cannot go into a third season with this familiar achilles heel surely?
Fernandinho turned 34 last week and injuries have disrupted his season. He will play even fewer games next year. His cover has been Ilkay Gundogan, whose future is also not assured given he seems to be looking to move to pastures new. City must then seek a replacement defensive midfielder to serve as our new midfield pivot for the years ahead. This is a difficult position to get right, given it is integral to the Guardiola system.
Last season we have created so many chances, and converted relatively few of them. We have lacked a cutting edge at times which seems a crazy thing to say about a team who are the highest scoring in Europe. Yet our failure to fully kill off some games caused us problems and ensured the title went down to the final game. Adding some further goal threat to challenge our existing players to develop our potential even further, seems like a clever idea for Guardiola.
Finally we are almost certain to add a further central defender to our pack. Otamendi seems to be on the verge of moving to Atletico Madrid and indeed reports suggest City have engaged super agent, Jorge Mendes, to facilitate the transfer. The future of Vincent Kompany also seems strangely uncertain at this point.
In order to motivate this excellent City side the prospect of adding to the squad something like 4/5 additional First Team players should really generate desire within the playing group. Pep will continue to be willing to only pick those who are currently performing at their best, willing to drop anyone regardless of their star name.
Clearing out some of the First team squad at this point – Gundogan or even Sane – would demonstrate the degree of ruthlessness necessary to secure a further title. The teams around us will all no doubt strengthen in an attempt to try and close the gap before the new season starts. Imagine how disappointing it will be for all them, if City do as we expect and sign 4 new players at a cost of over £250 million. How debilitating will that be to our rivals before the season has even started?