Manchester City bag 6th Premier League title in a dramatic final

After four Premier League titles in five years, Pep Guardiola needs to bring Champions League glory to Manchester City Oli SCARFF AFP

Manchester City's most recent Premier League championship cemented the emergence of a dynasty. Still, Pep Guardiola will not be pleased until the club's domestic success serves as the impetus to conquer Europe.

City's fourth title in five seasons is probably Guardiola's crowning achievement, as he found a way to fight off Liverpool's unrelenting challenge by a single point.

"The magnitude of our achievement is because of the magnitude of this rival," stated Guardiola. As a football player or manager, I have never faced a foe like Liverpool.

But even Jurgen Klopp's side, in the midst of one of their best seasons ever, we're unable to overtake City, leaving them with only one Premier League championship in 32 years.

Guardiola praised the fantastic tenacity of his players, stating, "You cannot have been here for the past five years if you lacked this tenacity.

"We are motivated to win. To win championships, especially in the Premier League, requires more than just skill with the ball.

Nothing exemplified this tenacity more than City's most recent championship victory.

City, down Aston Villa 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining, responded extraordinarily by scoring three goals in five minutes.

Nevertheless, while Guardiola celebrates the ninth major trophy of his six-year tenure at City, Klopp will be plotting to add another chapter to Liverpool's illustrious Champions League history.

On May 28, Liverpool will meet Real Madrid in the Champions League final, and Guardiola would love to be in Paris instead of Klopp.

Since winning his second of two Champions League titles with Barcelona in 2011, Pep Guardiola's connection with Europe's premier club competition has been marred by agonizing defeats.

In this season's semi-final match against Real Madrid, City blew a 5-3 aggregate lead before losing in overtime in the waning seconds of regulation.

This tragedy at the Bernabeu occurred a year after City's lackluster loss to Chelsea in their first Champions League final.

Is Haaland the ideal match?

Guardiola understands that City cannot afford to stand pat if they are to ultimately win the Champions League and hold Liverpool at bay in the Premier League.

In May, the £51.5 million ($63 million) acquisition of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund was the opening salvo in their pursuit of these two goals.

Haaland scored an astonishing 86 goals in 89 appearances for Dortmund and appeared to be the perfect match for City.

The 21-year-old son of former City defender Alfie Haaland will join the club for the upcoming season, bringing his exceptional predatory instincts and physical presence to a City assault lacking these attributes despite their success.

With the addition of the Norway international and Guardiola trying to improve his options at left-back and central midfield, it would be a great shock if City did not contend for the title next season.

The main challenge to City's dynastic ambitions is Guardiola's intentions for the future.

By the time Guardiola's current contract expires in June 2023, he will have spent seven years with City, three more seasons than he managed Barcelona and four more than Bayern Munich.

The 51-year-old confessed he was "exhausted" during the victory celebrations and will not negotiate a contract extension until next season.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely that he could find a more excellent working atmosphere than the one he has at City.

The Abu Dhabi-based owners of Manchester City are never hesitant to use their financial clout in the transfer market. They have surrounded Pep Guardiola with his chosen lieutenants: director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano.

The eccentric Spaniard marches to the rhythm of his drum and a departure that changes the game cannot be ruled out.

However, the intense competitor that hides beneath Guardiola's urbane demeanor may determine his selection.

He views Liverpool as a formidable opponent and as a title race for the ages demonstrated; facing Klopp is the most challenging and rewarding test he could face.

Publish : 2022-05-23 08:31:00

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