On the 1st of February 2016 The “Pep Project” was unveiled. On this day Pep Guardiola was announced as manager of Manchester City. Fans and critics all over England were already making predictions that City would win the 2016/2017 Premier League. For the first two months of the season it looked like they were going to be right and City won there first 10 games and were top of the premier league at the end of September. What has happened since can then only be described as a disaster. City currently sit 5th in the Premier League, 12 points off Chelsea and in the words of Pep “are out of the Premier League title race”. The “Pep Project” needs to be restarted.
So if City are out of the title race and are now battling for the final Champions League spot, you have to imagine Pep is planning for next season already. I decided to give him a hand by naming five players who must leave Manchester City so the “Pep Project” can really begin.
We all know the stats, but you don’t need stats to figure out Claudio Bravo is a bad goalkeeper. I’m a big believer in the “eye test”. Looking at players technique, how they get around the pitch and how they work with the rest of there team are all things you look at when judging a player. If you have been watching City play this month you would have noticed that Bravo has not made a single save since January the 2nd. The “eye test” is usually the best way to judge a player which makes me wonder, did Pep ever actually watch the 33 year old goalkeeper?
Before I start, I want to give credit where credit is due. Vincent Kompany when he was fit,was one of the best defenders in the world. A leader on the pitch and in the dressing room. Kompany signing for City helped bring a passion and will to win previous big money signings weren’t able to bring. When Kompany is fit City win games.When Kompany was injured the last two years City struggled. Which has to make you think, do City have to move on and find a new leader? When I watch City play I see a team of players who look lost. Maybe for another leader to step up, Kompany needs to leave.
Its been pretty sad watching Pablo Zabaleta this season. The 32 year-old has looked well past his best season and has struggled trying to adapt to Guardiola’s different tactics. So far this season Zabaleta has played at right back, centre back and as a centre midfielder. In each position Zabaleta has struggled which makes me think that Pep is trying to find a position for him but, his best years are simply behind him. Zabaleta has been so bad I don’t even see him good enough to be a squad player for next season.
Yaya Toure is probably one of the top 10 midfielders in Premier League history. Toure was central to City winning two premier League titles. But, if we are being honest Toure should have been sold two years ago. A player who depends a lot on his athleticism, Toure isn’t able to get around the pitch like he used to. When he is played in the defensive midfield role he lacks the awareness to be effective. Pep didn’t trust him in the defensive midfield role at Barcelona. So why doe’s Pep play him there now when he has Delph and Fernando on the bench?
No, I haven’t gone mad! Hear me out. Regular fans of the PUPcast, would know I am not the biggest fan of Aguero. I think he has a fantastic goal record but, he doesn’t do it consistently week to week like Costa or Sanchez for example. If I was a manager I would want a striker to get a goal a game. Aguero has only scored 3 goals in City’s last 10 games. All three were scored against Burnley. That’s hardly the form of a top striker. Tactically Aguero doesn’t fit in this new look City. Pep’s style of play is very much about the team. Pep doesn’t care who scores the goals as long as the team wins. But, Aguero works best when he has the free license to shoot and create goals for himself. If Pep wants to implement his style of football and thinking he needs everyone to buy in. Sadly I don’t think Aguero wants to.
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