EPL Top Six Breakdown - Manchester City


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It’s no secret that the English Premier League is the most popular soccer (football) league in the world at the moment. It has six genuinely good teams that can hold their own in European competition (UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues respectively), and usually three or four of these teams will compete for the league title over the course of the season.

With that being said, this will be the first article in a series of EPL top six breakdowns. Here, I’ll be looking at four categories, with the fourth being my predictions for how they’ll do in the league and their respective European competition.

The four categories are: overall play style, manager evaluation, key player, and predictions.

Hopefully you’ve read the title of this article by now, so you’ll know we’re starting off with the reigning PL champions, Manchester City.

Overall Play Style

Manchester City are by far (yes, by FAR) the most complete team England has to offer at the highest level.

The Cityzens have spent, what an established country would be able to spend on their military, on their defensive line and it has paid dividends. For the better part of five years (before last season), Manchester City were getting by with their incredible attacking talent, and hoping that they didn’t come up against a high-pressing team that would force their defenders into mistakes (this still happens, but not nearly as often).

Now, this squad has conquered every part of what a “good” team should have in terms of being a contender on multiple fronts. Their possession style has strayed from manager, Pep Guardiola’s, Barcelona tiki-taka and evolved into a Premier League-style tactic where there’s less passing, more movement off the ball, and more incisive passing into the opponent’s final third.

This style of play is what most managers dream their squads would be able to do, and while some are close to replicating it, some will have to make do with the squads they have and hope to find a counter for it.

Manager Evaluation – Pep Guardiola

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There’s nothing I’m going to say that hasn’t already been said about the mastermind that is Pep Guardiola.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve always been a fan of his, because in truth, he’s never had to work with limited resources or have to overhaul a squad before. This is hardly a criticism though, and for the most part he’s handled club transfers pretty well wherever he’s been, so he seems like he knows what he’s doing.

In terms of his time at Manchester City, he’s done everything almost perfectly. He’s got his team playing a wonderfully attractive brand of football, he’s built a dynasty that can continue to win whenever he eventually leaves the club, and he’s won a league title doing so.

Now all that he has left to do is perform at the Champions League level.

Key Player

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Benjamin Mendy:

The left back spent almost the entirety of last year injured, and the team didn’t seem to miss him much, as they romped to another league triumph while breaking records in the process.

This time around, however, Mendy is back and he’s simply unstoppable.

Standing at 6’0" tall and weighing in at 187 pounds, Mendy looks like a freight train barrelling down the left side of the pitch, as he whips across ball after ball for Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to connect with.

Mendy has been playing left back to start the season, but has regularly been popping up on the left of the midfield, and in the opposition penalty box more often than probably anywhere else. He’s literally been playing left field to start the season.

No team has found a solution to Mendy’s excellence down the left flank, and if he continues in the form he’s currently in, he may prove to be the difference between yet another Champions League disappointment and being crowned kings of Europe.

Prediction

League Finish: 1st

Champions League Finish: Finalists