Given the resources Manchester City have enjoyed over the past couple of years, it might be easy to imagine the success they’re enjoying right at the moment is almost inevitable. But is it?
Perhsps the key decision within this period was to hire Pep Guardiola, who was then responsible for signing many of the key players who’ve brought them to the summit of the English game. He’s also responsible for developing them as players into the level they’re at now.
So if someone else came in, would the team still work as well. How would Jose Mourinho set up and play the current City squad. Let’s take a look.
We’ll take 433 as a given, first of all, along with Ederson is goal. I can’t see him straying from that.
But a true Mourinho side is hard as nails in the middle of the pitch. I think he’d take Fernandinho and link him up with someone more defensively capable in the center. I’m going to suggest Delph. Yep. This is Mou after all.
So, we’re talking about a manager who basically destroyed Kaka’s career, who ostracized Ozil at Real and has ruined Martial and Depay at United. Plus he already overlooked de Bruyne at Chelsea. We can safely assume Kevin, no matter how good, finds himself benched. Maybe permanently. Instead, I can imagine a more general work horse being deployed. Gundogan. Admit it. You can really picture him playing this midfield three.
For defence, Stones and Kompany in the center. Kompany’s past his peak maybe but Mou loves sticking with old reliables like Lampard, Terry or Zanetti long past their sell by date. Walker and Mendy at Full back then but very much constrained to fight their urges to range forward the way they can and protect the goal at all costs instead.
Up front there’s a big issue. Or rather a small one. I’m going to assume Sterling is played on the right of the three with Sane on the left. Thing is there’s no Mourinho style target man in the centre. Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are exceptional marksmen, great at positioning and finding space with deadly shooting accuracy. But consider these names. Drogba. Costa. Milito. Lukaku. Benzema. These are power houses. Great big guys who dominate physically in the box, respond to crosses and can bring down the inevitable long balls for midfielders to run on to. City have no one like this.
I can genuinely see Mourinho playing Aguero for a bit and then signing ( or re-signing) someone like Dzeko to sober things up.
So there it is. Man City coached by Mourinho. What do you think? How do you imagine he might do it differently?