Wenger Takes A Dig At Guardiola Ahead Of Weekend Clash
The Premier League has been quite the reality check for Pep Guardiola. Maybe this managing lark isn’t so easy after all.
After an incredible start that saw victories arrive in their droves, proceedings have firmly stalled at the Etihad Stadium. While the situation is far from catastrophic, Guardiola hasn’t been short of criticism in recent weeks.
Nevertheless, Arsene Wenger is of the opinion that the Spaniard is in fact being treated lightly. Coming from a manager that has divided opinion for over two decades now, he’s probably not wrong.
It was all going so well, wasn’t it?
Manchester City won their first 10 games of the season and, in light of this, set themselves up as firm title favourites. This was no more apparent than in their stylish 2-1 win at Old Trafford in September.
However, a lazy 3-3 draw away to Celtic and defeat at White Hart Lane soon saw things stagnate for Guardiola. Coupled with infuriating home draws against Everton, Middlesbrough and Southampton, City have a lot to feel aggrieved about.
In addition to this, Barcelona, Chelsea and Leicester City seem to have discovered how to unlock the Citizen’s leaky defence. If this season has taught us anything its that when City concede, they concede a fistful.
Guardiola hasn’t helped himself though. One of the stories of this season has been the 45-year-old’s occasionally ridiculous tactical decisions.
When playing Aleksandar Kolarov at centre-back, taking off your only striker when you’re 4-0 down and fielding Kevin de Bruyne at right wing-back, you’ve got to take criticism on the chin.
That being said, while Guardiola is having to deal with quite the deluge of critique at the moment, he should take it with a pinch of salt. After all, Wenger has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
Before the Frenchman had managed a single game, newspapers were printing: ‘Arsene who?’ Therefore, if anyone is qualified to preach about managerial abuse, it’s probably Wenger.
Consequently, according to the Mirror, the 67-year-old was keen to offer some perspective by explaining: “I should get some newspapers from when I arrived here and you will see that it’s much easier today for the foreign managers.
“I would say when I arrived here it was difficult for the foreign managers. Today it difficult for the English managers. That’s what has changed.
“Have I been surprised by the criticism? Yes and no. Yes, because his CV is impeccable and no because that’s part of our game and modern life in our job.
“People really love football in this country and there’s a big passion for the game. I respect that hugely, but people also want their team to win.
“On top of that, people are impatient as well — modern society is like that.”
Wenger certainly has a point. After all, Guardiola always has his achievements at Barcelona and Bayern Munich to fall back on.
Therefore, it’s important not to overblow the situation on the back of a few draws and an anomalously heavy defeat. While shipping four goals at the King Power Stadium isn’t ideal, it’s not a call to man the panic stations.
So before Guardiola starts fearing for his job and pandering to paranoia, he should focus on rediscovering City’s knack for winning. Besides, just a few months ago, his side looked untouchable.
As far as the criticism goes though, if he thinks this is as bad as it gets, the Spaniard could be set for a long few years on English soil. Nothing comes easy in the Premier League.
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