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Guardiola’s City are the most dominant Premier League club of all time

They said Pep Guardiola could’t do what he’d done in Spain and Germany. It was argued the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss would struggle to dominate the Premier League as a manager like he’d dominated La Liga and the Bundesliga. English soccer, they pointed out, would be too inherently competitive. Too many strong contenders for the trophy, and at that, the strength from top-to-bottom to slip up on any given matchday.

Seven years after Guardiola arrived at Manchester City, though, he has built a dynasty. Last Sunday saw his team celebrate their third consecutive Premier League title and their fifth in the last fifth seasons. Arsenal led the majority of this season’s title race, but they couldn’t maintain the pace ahead of Guardiola’s relentless machine.

There is no shame in that. Since dropping points away to Nottingham Forest in mid-February, City have won 12 league matches in-a-row. Not only did they surge past Arsenal to the top of the table, they strolled to the FA Cup final and demolished Real Madrid on their way to reaching the Champions League final. 

Manchester City are just two wins away from achieving an historic Treble, something not achieved by an English club since Manchester United in 1999. Guardiola’s City team have been a great team for a number of seasons, but they are now on the brink of becoming a legendary team. That’s what is at stake for them.

It could be strongly argued this Manchester City team is already the strongest of the Premier League era. The division has produced dominant teams before – see Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea – but City are currently setting a new standard.

Ferguson’s United won three consecutive Premier League titles twice between 1999 and 2001 and again between 2007 and 2009, but they never won five in six seasons as Manchester City have under Guardiola. Wenger is a Premier League icon, but he only ever won three league titles in 22 years at Arsenal. Guardiola has won five in seven years.

Many will justifiably point out how Manchester City face a charge sheet of over 100 alleged financial violations from the Premier League. Until these are addressed, their success will have an asterisk alongside it for some. Allegations notwithstanding, it’s certainly true City have greater resources than most other clubs in world soccer.

They have, however, used those resources exceptionally well. City paid £100m to sign Jack Grealish two summers ago and have since moulded the England international into the perfect Guardiola winger. Erling Haaland arrived from Borussia Dortmund last summer and is now a Premier League record breaker.

Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure were all transitioned out of the Manchester City team without much of a drop-off. City have money, more than almost any other club in the Premier League, but they have used that money to build the most dominant team in the division’s history.

“The team is really good but I’m in agreement with the media and people saying we have to win in Europe to be considered as the same type to those [great] teams,” Guardiola said when asked to assess the true quality of his Manchester City team. “Those teams, they’ve won not just once but many times in Europe. 

“The joy [of reaching the Champions League final] is so nice, it’s amazing being here again and again. Nothing is going to change that but if we are [to be] considered one of the best teams, we have to win the Champions League. Otherwise, my opinion [of how good City are] is not going to change.”

Guardiola was hired by Manchester City to turn the club into a European force. They have made one Champions League final under the Catalan coach and can now get their hands on European club soccer’s most prestigious prize by beating Inter on June 10. For many, this is where the true gauge of Guardiola as City manager will be taken.

At this point, it’s difficult to envisage how anyone could possibly make up the ground on Manchester City at the top of English soccer. Newcastle United have the resources to do it, but they haven’t had the time to put in place the foundations to win major titles. Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules also put them at a disadvantage.

There’s little reason to believe three Premier League titles in-a-row won’t become four or five. Guardiola is the best manager of his generation and his Manchester City team are the most dominant in Premier League history. This season might not be the culmination of something, it might be the midpoint of an unprecedented era of success.

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