The Citizens are now in their fourth season under Pep, and it is pretty much why sources around the club say there has been that five per cent drop off in intensity. I believe it's normal because its definitely not conscious. It is just something that happens.
No way can the same intensity and precision be maintained for every season. Most of it is almost imperceptible, but in recent games against the Red Devils and the Lily Whites we can clearly see that lack of killer instinct.
The problem now is not just the profligacy Infront of goal but also their constant defensive constraints. Laporte was once again absent, Stones didn't even make the match day squad, Otamendi struggled and The Blue Moon conceded 29 goals in 25 games. This is six more than they did in the whole campaign last season. City have so many strengths yet are currently riddled with so much uncertainty. Sterling embodies their distracted state, heart willing but body wilting, his radar fractionally off, his timing too.
Hence the reason why new players need to be constantly bred in. To renew and maintain the demands of Guardiola’s style of play. Pep thought that the current players would carry him through, but certain players proved him wrong.
The big question remains now. Will the Spanish tactician stay on and rebuild? Or will he search for a new project. At Barcelona he was a local boy and with that came its own pressures. At Bayern he was an employee and was often questioned about certain decisions. I personally think he will stay because at City he has everything. He has basically given City their Identity. He is also single handedly shaping the Clubs History. Pep is free and that allows him to be more creative. He is the Boss.
This article was written by a Soccer Laduma reader