City are lapping up Pep’s new blue language

Pep Guardiola is the unsurpassed master of the language of football. It transcends the command of his native Catalan, his Spanish mother tongue, his fluent German and his good, and rapidly improving, English.

Getting the message over - Pep knows the language of football better than anyone.

Getting the message over – Pep knows the language of football better than anyone.

In his first 35 days in competitive game mode with Manchester City, Pep has quickly familiarized himself with some of the grammatical oddities of the Queen’s English, words that sound the same, but have totally different meanings.

Take for instance the examples of rain, reign and rein.

Infamous for its annual rainfall figures, Manchester surpassed its own dubious claim to fame when a virtual monsoon washed away the scheduled Champions League clash with Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Forget Blue Mondays - City were washed out on a very Wet Tuesday.

Forget Blue Mondays – City were washed out on a very Wet Tuesday.

The 24-hour postponement failed to dampen the momentum of Guardiola’s up-to-now glorious reign at the Etihad, as City flushed out any German resistance and opened the floodgates, in a crushing 4-0 victory.

Bournemouth suffered the same fate less than 72 hours later as Pep’s 100% start to life with Manchester City continued unabated – eight games played and eight wins – 25 goals scored and just four conceded.

Rain on the Tuesday but raining goals just 24 hours later in the Champions League. Exclusive artwork produced by Stiz from the BlueRoom.

Rain on the Tuesday but raining goals just 24 hours later in the Champions League. Exclusive artwork produced by Stiz from the BlueRoom.

With maximum points gathered in the opening rounds of the Premier League and Champions League, expectations were rising quicker than precipitation levels in Manchester at its soggiest.

It led to Pep reining in ridiculous conjecture in relation to an unprecedented quadruple.

High flying KDB, but Pep was instantly dismissive of any early season chat about City achieving the Quadruple.

High flying KDB, but Pep was instantly dismissive of any early season chat about City achieving the Quadruple.

Clearly exasperated by a question in the after match press conference, Guardiola’s response to the ill-conceived query has gone viral on social media, with the City boss heard to mutter ‘F*ck’ under his breath, before downplaying any such speculation.

It’s a display of emotion that will sit well with City’s fans, who are all too well aware of the media campaign to seek to undermine most of what happens at the Etihad.

Thankfully, the actions of Pep and his highly performing players far outweigh the words of any pundits and critics.

Such has been the phenomenal fluidity and finesse of City’s football, even the most jaundiced of City haters have found it impossible NOT to praise Guardiola’s brand of attacking fare.

Super Sergio - Aguero has praised Guardiola for improving him as a player in just a matter of weeks.

Super Sergio – Aguero has praised Guardiola for improving him as a player in just a matter of weeks.

Pep is right to keep a lid on anticipation levels in his debut season in England despite, thus far, confounding those who said he would struggle to emulate his success in La Liga and the Bundesliga.

City are happy to play the ‘waiting game’ – the one thrown up at the start of the season – that said ‘Wait until…’ Pep has to go away to Stoke or away to Manchester United.

If consecutive 4-1 and 2-1 away wins are anything to go by, the weight of expectation will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Guardiola is more than ready to bear that load. He’s a perfectionist, a man who will not allow complacency to creep in and compromise performances. Energised and working at hitherto unknown intensity levels, every City player knows their place is on the line with one sub-standard showing.

Together - City have adapted to the Pep way of play in a remarkably short period.

Together – City have adapted to the Pep way of play in a remarkably short period.

How often have we heard that City – under first Mancini, and then Pellegrini – had the best squad ‘on paper’, only for them to fail to perform on grass?

When a truly world class talent such as Sergio Aguero says Pep has improved him, just six weeks into Guardiola’s tutelage, it speaks volumes.

Outstanding talents - Sane and Sterling.

Outstanding talents – Sane and Sterling.

Raheem Sterling has been transformed after suffering a crisis of confidence under Pellegrini, which was further compounded by the bumbling Roy Hodgson at international level.

As for Aleksander Kolarov…where do you start?

Prior to Pep’s arrival, City’s hierarchy of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain fully expected the seemingly lacklustre Serbian to top Guardiola’s list of unwanted players.

When left is right - Guardiola has raved about Kolarov's 'sweet left foot' and AK47 has transformed his City career.

When left is right – Guardiola has raved about Kolarov’s ‘sweet left foot’ and AK47 has transformed his City career.

The Catalan said he wanted to assess Kolarov himself and Pep quickly decided AK 47 had the ‘…sweetest left foot he’d seen for a long long time…’’ and was being played ‘…out of position…’ which accounted for Kolarov’s disenchantment.

Pep sees what others don’t. You only have to take the virtual humiliation of Mourinho in the Manchester derby, as Pep’s tactical set-up completely bamboozled the soon to be re-branded, ‘Not So Special One.’

Bamboozled - Jose despairs as United were forced to dance to Pep's tactical tune in the derby.

Bamboozled – Jose despairs as United were forced to dance to Pep’s tactical tune in the derby.

He’s also, quite rightly, seen fit to stand up to the constant bitching, insults and snide insinuations of Yaya Toure’s pain in the ass agent, Dimitri Seluk.

Seluk constantly spews his verbal diarrhoea about City and, let’s not for one moment pretend, it isn’t sanctioned by the Ivorian.

Calling the shots - Pep has hit back at Yaya Toure's agent Dimitri Seluk.

Calling the shots – Pep has hit back at Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk.

Yaya has been one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – single factor in City’s recent era of success.

Toure scored the winning goals in the FA Cup semi final and final in 2011, was instrumental in the 2011/12 title campaign, the unstoppable force behind the 2013/14 title drive and scorer of the wonder goal that set City on the comeback trail to win the 2014 League Cup.

Vintage Yaya - driving City to the Premier League title in 2014 as he scores City's fourth in a 4-0 thrashing of Villa.

Vintage Yaya – driving City to the Premier League title in 2014 as he scores City’s fourth in a 4-0 thrashing of Villa.

More latterly he smashed home the winning penalty in the League Cup shootout with Liverpool last February.

The man’s accomplishments on the field are simply legendary.

It’s his utterances and unsavoury off the pitch antics – often by proxy and using Seluk as his mouthpiece – that have tarnished his status and the legacy he will eventually leave when he ships out of the Etihad.

He's behind you - Pep has banned Yaya from playing for City until the Ivorian and his agent apologise for disrespecting City.

He’s behind you – Pep has banned Yaya from playing for City until the Ivorian and his agent apologise for disrespecting City.

Pep is insisting Seluk apologises for his most recent outburst following Yaya’s omission from City’s CL squad. If he doesn’t, Toure won’t play for City again.

It’ll mean one of the most iconic figures in the history of Manchester City sitting on his backside for the next eight months, while continuing to pick up his ill-gotten £200k-a-week wages.

Was it such a coincidence that Toure chose the day he received Pep’s public ultimatum, to announce his retirement from Ivory Coast international duties?

Yaya not included - City's Champions League campaign is off to a flyer and nobody is missing Toure.

Yaya not included – City’s Champions League campaign is off to a flyer and nobody is missing Toure.

In different circumstances, Yaya stepping away from his country’s African Cup of Nations commitments in the middle of the English season, would have been welcomed with open arms.

As it is, it’s worth nothing more than a big fat ‘so what?’

How it must pain despicable Dimitri to see his prize ‘asset’ deemed surplus to requirements, as Pep takes the Premier League by storm.

Premier League brilliance - KDB scores a cracker against Bournemouth.

Premier League brilliance – KDB scores a cracker against Bournemouth.

The unrepentant Ukrainian has already hit back saying; ‘Guardiola wins a few games and thinks he is King. I live in Europe so can say whatever I want and Guardiola can’t stop me.”

Demented Dimitri has even demanded Pep apologise to not only Yaya, but also Joe Hart and Manuel Pellegrini after their recent departures. Go figure.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word. If so, Yaya will end his City career as the fabled ‘Invisible Man’.

Class act - Ilkay Gundogan has looked hugely impressive in his first two City appearances.

Class act – Ilkay Gundogan has looked hugely impressive in his first two City appearances.

But, as correct he is on most matters, Pep might wish to readjust his focus on one particularly spiky topic, namely UEFA’s treatment of City.

In his time with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola would have been cocooned from UEFA’s corrupt and vindictive shenanigans – his previous employers in Spain and Germany being prime players and beneficiaries of the cartel pulling UEFA’s strings.

Pep has ‘suggested’ City fans should stop booing UEFA’s self-aggrandizing Champions League anthem, saying it is time to move on and put the past behind.

Rethink - Pep has done just about everything right as City manager, but maybe needs to understand the club's recent history with UEFA.

Rethink – Pep has done just about everything right as City manager, but maybe needs to understand the club’s recent history with UEFA.

Easier said than done.

Perhaps if UEFA lose the ongoing legal challenge to their fatuous Financial Fair Play regulations things might be different. In the meantime UEFA should:

  • Reimburse City the £16.4m penalty levied for breaching FFP (plus a handsome rate of interest).
  • Apologise and reimburse travelling City fans for the debacle in Moscow, when UEFA decided – late in the day – to punish CSKA for racist chanting, forcing them to play City behind closed doors (500 Russian yobs were still allowed in to cheer CSKA).
  • Dump plans to revise the ‘co-efficient’ system, changes that will penalise the likes of City and favour the historical cartel of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool and, incredibly, the fallen giants of Milan – AC and Inter – neither of whom have been in the CL for donkey’s years.
Carry on booing - CSKA mysteriously managed to have hundreds of thuggish supporters in the stadium, despite a UEFA ban on their fans.

Carry on booing – CSKA mysteriously managed to have hundreds of thuggish supporters in the stadium, despite a UEFA ban on their fans.

What isn’t in dispute is the seamless way Pep is rotating his squad, integrating brilliant new signings John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Nolito, as well as giving youth a chance with Alexi Garcia, Pablo Maffeo, Angelino, plus a possible debut for Brahim Diaz at Swansea on Wednesday night.

Come back Captain Kompany - will Vinnie feature at Swansea in the League Cup on Wednesday night?

Come back Captain Kompany – will Vinnie feature at Swansea in the League Cup on Wednesday night?

City’s defence of the League Cup could see the long awaited return of Vincent Kompany after he limped out of the Champions League semi final against Real Madrid in May.

The captain’s return would give Guardiola yet another boost, with the double header against Swansea coming up, followed by crucial away games at Celtic in the CL and a top of the table tussle with Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Is it a question of 'when' rather than 'if' Pep lifts old Big Ears during his time at the Etihad?

Is it a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Pep lifts old Big Ears during his time at the Etihad?

Four away victories would give Pep a perfect 12/12 wins, but woe betide anybody mentioning a ‘quadruple’.

 

By David Walker

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

18 Comments

  1. September 20, 2016  8:52 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    About time someone told Yaya agent to shut his mouth.He single handedly has ruined Yaya time at City. He has been a great player for us but his star is fading unfortunately nobody beat father time. I hope this can be sorted out. Not doing badly are we to say Pep will struggle in prem with an under achieving squad & Maureen was going to win everything

    • September 20, 2016  9:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Isn't Pep great - blimey the guy knows his onions - he is 'Da Man' no messing. Apart from his slightly misguided or maybe just ill-informed opinion on UEFA, he has been pure bloody perfection thus far. Cheers Doug.

  2. September 20, 2016  9:28 pm by Stuart Reed Reply

    Great article Dave. You've summed up my feelings from over the past few weeks perfectly. A few things I've noticed
    - when utd pointlessly pulled one back v City Sky "City still can't keep a clean sheet"; same old, same old, eh?
    - Ferdinand continues to twatter pointlessly particularly during the City derby (I call it that cos utd weren't in it)
    - Can you imagine the outrage if City had spend 93 mill ( & does that include the 10mill plus agent fee) on the invisible man
    - the changing rules of the CL co-efficient - the hand of David Gill perchance?;
    all desperate attempts to belittle & hold City back but to no avail.
    And that because we've got the best, most intelligent manager ever to come to England. As somebody said recently Pep is our Mozart to Mourinho's Salieri.
    How Pep has changewd the team, the individual players!
    - although Sergio scored the hattrick v BMG & its hard not to give him MotM, I watched KdB closely & he constantly pressed & chased brilliantly and it postively presaged Pep'scomments at the weekend re KdB being just behind Messi;
    - Sterling's sublime mazzy run would have been Goal of the Season had it gone in. As it didn't it gets ignored;
    - Kolarov !!!!!!
    - Bravo's distribution makes City look like they've got 15 players on the pitch & however much we love Hart, it was the right move;
    - I'll bet Nolito got battered
    What's happening ? Pep's happening - love watching him on the line. He absolutely lives it and has got to be worth 300million a season for what he brings to City.
    Yes I'm excited by the football - I drool & swoon watching the passing & the pressing. And we're gonna walk the league eh? Well, according to the press maybe but if Pep hears it he'll go mad - so will we. Its too long a season. But expectations are high based on what we've seen so far.
    Pep expects to lose at some point soon & he'll turn it into a positive by finding out how why we lost going through it with a finetooth comb to learn how to stop it happening again. There won't be the collapse of last season after five gamesBut the atmosphere around the players is so positive. Genius - he truly makes it a beautiful game

    • September 20, 2016  9:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      There's a lot of endeavour and effort gone into such a great comment Stuart - will it be an almighty 'cop out' if I simply say 'I agree'? ;-) Thanks for reading and such wonderful feedback.

  3. September 20, 2016  10:51 pm by Guv Reply

    I hate that agent, he is as bad as Barton's. As for your blog tonight, wow a full season so far so eloquently put, well done RBNR, I for one could not have written such a full well balanced piece. I am now looking forward to two totally different games in Swansea, kids and Kompany for one, then Agueroooooooo returning for the other one.

    • September 20, 2016  11:13 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Guv. Two different City teams, two different games but only one outcome...two Manchester City victories and 10/10 for Pep.

  4. September 21, 2016  3:55 am by Dennis Reply

    This is the best read on the subject so far !

  5. September 21, 2016  6:27 am by Susan Richardson Reply

    Thanks scribe. A good account of our season so far. I love how the pundits are having it rammed up their fundaments? I'm quite giddy for the rest of the season it's always great being a City fan but wow just wow

    • September 21, 2016  8:13 am by David Walker Reply

      We'd played 5 and won 5 in the league this time last year with MP, but this, this feels very different, much more energised and sustainable. Time will tell but it's looking pretty damn good. Thanks for the feedback.

  6. September 21, 2016  8:58 am by Craig Fisher Reply

    Extremely well presented as usual. I think we're in for a fantastic ride this season. It still feels like it's us against the world!

    • September 21, 2016  9:34 am by David Walker Reply

      I think we'll have a siege mentality for many moons to come, for as long as it takes mass media outlets to stop pandering to the perceived whims of supporters of United, Liverpool, Arsenal etc. They are fearful of lavishing praise on City because they might risk ostracizing viewers, listeners and readers who detest City and can't stomach our success. I have actually seen memos to that effect - it's pathetic. At least we are slowly seeing the emergence of some balance via the recruitment of the likes of Richard Dunne, Trevor Sinclair and Uwe Rosler as 'pundits' - decent ex-Blues, capable of either unbiased comment or even with a blue hue. Anybody who says 'Ah yes, but Quinn, McManaman and David James are ex-Blues and therefore representative of City' need shooting. Thanks Craig.

  7. September 21, 2016  10:06 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    The UEFA coefficients nonsense will presumably also benefit Nottingham Forest :-)

    • September 21, 2016  11:03 am by David Walker Reply

      Not forgetting Villa and Leeds :-)

  8. September 21, 2016  3:00 pm by Fred Nelson Reply

    I can't be alone in thinking that, like your good self, your articles are improving with age! Superb read. I couldn't agree with you more about Yaya's despicable agent. Could we possibly have dreamed or wished for a better start under Pep? Sterling's form is a great example, not to mention the revitalised form of AK47, reminders if we needed them, of just how good of a coach we are blessed with right now. I for one, am drinking it in....Cheers, Dave.

    • September 21, 2016  4:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for the kind feedback on my writing, sadly the same cannot be said of myself ;-) My body was once a temple - it still is except that it's old and crumbling and bloody tourists keep walking all over it! As a good Irishman I have no doubt that you are indeed drinking it in, so bottoms up as Pep brews up lasting success for our beloved City.

  9. September 21, 2016  5:29 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Love it! Pep a class act

    • September 21, 2016  6:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      We knew he was good...but he's REALLY good ;-)

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