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Pep Guardiola explains reasoning for successful tactical tweak

Srinivas Sadhanand

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Pep Guardiola explains reasoning for successful tactical tweak

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS/Alamy

Pep Guardiola has opened up about his most recent tactical tweak.

At this point, Pep Guardiola needs no introduction as one of the game’s greatest tactical innovators.

The Spanish boss holds the distinction of winning not just one, but two Premier League titles, largely without the presence of a striker at Manchester City.

Manchester City are once again favourites to win the Premier League (Image: Alamy)
Manchester City are once again favourites to win the Premier League (Image: Alamy)

While almost each and every league winning side in the English top-flight is associated with a clinical goalscorer up front, the 51-year old tore up the rulebook by incorporating a false nine system to great effect.

However, this is just one of many instances in which the Catalan’s tactical genius has been at the forefront of City’s success.

Another famous example includes the use of Gabriel Jesus as a left wing-back against Real Madrid in the Champions League, which surprisingly worked wonders.

During the Sky Blues’ Premier League opener against West Ham United, Guardiola’s rare footballing brain was once again on show as he deployed both Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo as inverted full-backs.

While this has been the ex-Bayern Munich tactician’s go-to approach since his arrival in England, he turned things up a notch by essentially employing the pair in a midfield double pivot.

The experiment certainly did the trick at the London Stadium last Sunday.

As part of Guardiola’s complex 2-3-5 shape in build-up, the duo put forth near-perfect showings both on and off the ball.

So much so that the four-time Premier League winner went on to sum up Walker’s performance as one of his very best in a Sky Blues shirt.

Kyle Walker in action for Manchester City. (MI News & Sport / Alamy)
Kyle Walker in action for Manchester City. (MI News & Sport / Alamy)

Ahead of the Blues' win over Bournemouth, Pep Guardiola was quizzed about the rationale behind his experiment against David Moyes’ side.

“It's not the first time, many years, last season with a proper striker or false nine. Many games, we play this season or don't play. Depends on the shape of the opponent or how the opponent defend," the Catalan revealed.

The Manchester City manager continued: “Whether they are four or five at the back, flat, how the wingers behave, this affects your attack. You have to adapt. Since Bayern, always I use it.”

Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo
Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo

With Philipp Lahm and David Alaba both operating as an inverted full-back duo in Bavaria, the decorated manager is certainly right in reminding many that the clash against West Ham was far from the first time where said tactic was in action.

Despite the success of the experiment, Pep Guardiola is expected only to put it into practice in accordance with the style and setup of the Sky Blues' opponent.

Topics: Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Premier League

Srinivas Sadhanand
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