According to Gary Neville, Manchester City’s attack on the Premier League title heralds the start of the second coming of Pep Guardiola’s reign at the club.
Guardiola led City to two Premier League titles in his first three seasons in record-breaking fashion, but in a season of transformation at the Etihad Stadium, City finished 18 points behind champions Liverpool last season.
Guardiola has reshaped his squad and restored City’s supremacy this season, thanks to the emergence of Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, and Phil Foden, as well as the evolution of John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan.
“Pep Guardiola’s level of football in those first two title-winning seasons was excellent,” Neville said. “It was on top of the world and then there was a huge drop last season, but that all changed in January with that win at Chelsea.”
“What we saw at Stamford Bridge a few months ago in that 30 minutes of excellent play in the first half, we’re seeing now regularly.”
“If you told me at the start of the season that City’s defense will consist of Cancelo, [Oleksandr] Zinchenko, Stones, and Dias, I’d have said they’d concede goals, but they haven’t, and they all deserve praise.”
“Cancelo, I adore – I’ve known him since we worked together at Valencia, and I’ve always admired him.” Dias is a fantastic defender and a fantastic player. I knew City had signed a player when they signed [Aymeric] Laporte because I had come up against him when I managed in Spain.
I worked with Stones with England and saw a great talent, but then you think about the concentration and that kind of intensity during big games. But what we’re seeing now is a string of games in which he’s performing at a high level in a fantastic squad.
As a result, City has some fantastic young defenders who are willing to drive up the pitch and take the ball. They have strong midfield players and are growing as a team.”