Pep Guardiola and his player roulette, a nightmare for opposing teams and fantasy league players alike. Manchester City is a club with immense financial power and the pull to attract the greatest talents of the world and Pep has used this ability of the club to its fullest. He has spent over 1 billion dollars in transfers over the span of his tenure. Through this, he has stuffed City’s team with talents enough to make two teams capable of winning the Premier League. But with huge talent comes huge responsibility. Let’s get down to that.
When you have a plethora of options at your disposal and they are stars who would walk into almost every team’s starting eleven in the league, playing time is a want and a need for everyone. No superstar or a budding prospect wants to sit their prime out on the bench. They want to get on the field, make a difference and win accolades. This is where it gets troubling for City.
Due to the constant Pep roulette, players end up being unhappy with the amount of playing time they get. This was evident at the end of last season when after the UCL final defeat, reports emerged all over that a lot of City players were unhappy with the playing time they get and want to move. Although none of the senior first-team players transferred out, this is an issue that will haunt Pep over and over again.
The constant rotation of players is a necessity and sometimes good too for City. They play in all the major competitions and try to win as many as possible. Pep is known and criticised for not fielding younger lineups but when someone can buy a Ferrari, why would he try to build one in his garage? At least that’s what Pep thinks. City’s squad depth was one of the main reasons for them being able to win two trophies last season and reach the UCL final while most teams succumbed to injuries. The rotation keeps the players fit and fresh for every upcoming match.
But a coin has two sides. While rotation is beneficial sometimes, it can also mess up the way the team plays. Pep is known for his overthinking in the most important matches in the UCL. Be it Lyon, Monaco or Chelsea. The urge to do something different, something out of the box, has led to City’s downfall in the hunt for Europe’s most prestigious trophy. Rotation disturbs the tactics of the team.
A car that runs on a daily basis at a regular speed gives out a better average than the one that runs sometimes. That’s how it is for Pep’s City. Even though the rotation might pay off sometimes, most of the time it backfires. City fielded the same lineup in the knockout rounds of the UCL last season up till the final. This was a first for Pep at City. But then Pep ended up taking out a CDM and put in Sterling in the final and we all know how that went.
Pep’s rotation affects players at an individual level too. When a player who is performing well, match in match out, gets benched for a crucial match, it affects his confidence. It also affects his trust in the manager. For example, Bernardo Silva.
On the other hand, when a player who is not performing well at all and is going through a rough form gets started every match, it doesn’t make the player feel the need to improve his game. This leads to ignorance from the player and frustration for the fans and benched players alike. For example, Raheem Sterling last season.
Pep’s roulette is a curse that he has brought upon himself by flooding the team with talents and only 11 positions to fill. This constant change might baffle opponents at times and make them rethink their tactics but it affects Pep’s team more than he thinks it does. A pair of fresh legs are always good but a team is like a piece of machinery that works best in proper harmony. If you constantly keep tinkering on it, the machine is bound to break down.