Manchester City return to league action on Wednesday evening when Brentford visit the Etihad Stadium.
City only faced the west London club six weeks ago, a 1-0 win earned by a superb Phil Foden goal. Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking for a similar result this time around in order to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the table.
City have made light work of the title race since mid-November, but not everyone is a fan of the way they have gone about it. Still, it seems that followers of Brentford – who themselves have a brilliant manager in Thomas Frank – can appreciate the incredible work that Guardiola is doing in Manchester.
AB: “What was your view on how City played back in December? Because that was around the time when a lot of non-City fans were saying how boring they were.
“What were your thoughts. Do you find City boring or did you think they were good?”
SU: “When you look at the teams who have come down here, City and Liverpool are the best two I’ve seen. We scored three past Liverpool but they’re still a very good side. City, I don’t think they’ re boring – Pep is such a genius.
“I’m going to debunk a few issues people have. They call Pep a checkbook manager but look at all the money spent by your crosstown rivals since Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson] left.
“I think they have the highest net spend in Europe over the last eight or nine years and they’ve won two domestic honors [plus] the Europa League, which they just scraped. They’ve won two domestic honors in nine years, which is the same as Leicester City, who have probably spent a third of [United’s outlay] in that time.
“To everyone calling Guardiola a checkbook manager, just look at Man United and the money they’ve wasted. To call him boring and a checkbook manager is wrong because of what he’s done, what he did at Barcelona.
“A lot of people when he first came to England said ‘let’s see how he does’. You’ll have won four titles in five seasons if you win it this year. You didn’t think it would be possible.”
Uzzi also cited Guardiola’s ability to improve already great players as another trait that puts the Catalan above many of his peers.
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“He’s improved players. De Bruyne was a good player when he came but Pep has completely elevated him to another level, same with Raheem Sterling. [Riyad] Mahrez – very good player at Leicester, we can’t forget that – but Pep’s improved him.
“He brought through Phil Foden. Bernardo Silva, again, good at Monaco and Pep’s elevated him. Ruben Dias and Laporte – good buys. Kyle Walker, good at Tottenham and Pep took him to another level. Let’s not forget the incredible swap deal involving Danilo and Joao Cancelo.
“Take this from me as a neutral – I’m no City fan so you’re probably surprised to hear quite a passionate defense from your manager.”
AB: “It’s nice, it makes a nice change!”
Do you agree with Uzzi – are the criticisms of City and Guardiola unfounded? Follow our City Is Ours writer Alex Brotherton and Football London’s Uzzi Majid on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.