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Will the Premier League Make or Break Pep?

April 18, 2016

- Grant Whittington

Let’s start with an obvious assertion; Pep Guardiola is a world-class manager. After all, a man who won 14 trophies in just four seasons at Barcelona is destined for the hall of fame, while his continued domestic success at Bayern Munich (he is set to complete a hat-trick of league titles in the Bundesliga this term) has added an additional layer to his steadily growing legacy.

Why the EPL may be Pep’s Biggest challenge

At BetHut, however, we believe that the incoming Manchester City manager will face his biggest and arguably defining challenge in attempting to turn the Blues into a dominant, global force. While this should not distract from Pep’s immeasurable quality as a manager, it is fair to say that such an undertaking may expose a potential lack of experience and the hype that has slightly distorted the man’s immense achievements in the game.

While it is unfair to suggest that Barcelona’s success under Pep was due primarily to the sheer quality of players available (just look at how the Catalan club fared immediately after his departure), his Bayern tenure does warrant further scrutiny. Let us not forget that Guardiola took over a Bayern team at the peak of its powers in 2013, with the Germans having won a treble of league, cup and European Champions League the previous season, not to mention the final the season before.

Despite this and sustained domestic success in the Bundesliga, Pep has failed to take Bayern to the final of the Champions League during his time while he has also suffered two heavy and harrowing semi-final defeats against Real Madrid and Barcelona in the process. While he may end the drought this season, such a failure suggests that Pep’s time in Munich cannot be described as a roaring or unmitigated success.

Could the technical deficiencies of the EPL hinder Pep?

Of course we are splitting hairs, but such margins often define success and failure at the higher end of the game. Another major issue facing Pep is the lack of technical ability showcased by the Premier League at times, as while this is a criticism often aimed at British players it represents a problem that has prevented top Premier League clubs from thriving in Europe in recent seasons. In fact, it may be argued that the improvement of modest top-flight clubs and their ability to press relentlessly has exposed such technical failings and forced even leading sides to adopt more of a counter-attacking style.

Given that Pep’s trademark playing style is based on possession, movement and technical ability, this shortfall could impede his chances of success. In this respect, his tenure may depend on his ability to secure the services of some of the world’s best players, but even then he would time to impose a culture change at the club and alter the mind-set of City when they entertain Europe’s leading clubs.

One thing is for sure, we will get to see how good Pep really is over the next three seasons. This does not mean that the Premier League is the best league in the world, but it does cement its status as the most competitive and challenging for players and managers.

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