Guardiola’s Haaland Alvarez Pair Fails First Full Test for Manchester City

Guardiola’s Haaland Alvarez Pair Fails First Full Test for Manchester City

Elijah Odetokun
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:24 PM
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  • Manchester City succumbed versus a 10-man Tottenham Hotspur to lose grip on the league
  • Pep Guardiola gave a full 90 minutes to the striking partnership of Alvarez and Haaland
  • The tactic came after public comments on playing the two together to devastating effect

Pep Guardiola is one of the most tactically sound managers in the world, possessing the rare ability to impose his team's tactics and not the usual style of adapting to their opponents.

However, a few times this ability has failed him, which has always attracted the tag of 'overthinking', rather than the norm of 'being outclassed' used on other managers.

The Manchester City manager has earned that exception through respect alone.

Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Manchester City, Tottenham, Argentina, Norway, World Cup, Premier League.
Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland had zero shots on target between them against Tottenham despite playing 90 minutes. Photos by Chris Brunskill.
Source: Getty Images

One of his most difficult recent tasks is to find a way to play two strikers, Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez, something he has hardly ever done in his 15 years as a manager so far.

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Haaland-Alvarez fail first test

The Spanish boss claimed in recent weeks that his two strikers could play together, as reported by Manchester Evening News, after concerns of Haaland hardly being involved against teams that sit deep.

Some believe the Norwegian does not possess the ability to break them down.

''They can play together, against teams that defend so deep, they can share. The good players, they can always play together, and in this squad we have many,'' Guardiola said in November.

In the 1-0 loss to Tottenham on January 5, the former Barcelona manager gave the full 90 minutes to the World Cup winner and Haaland, but both failed to produce the desired result.

The pair had zero shots on target between them, with the Norwegian star failing to have any shot at all against a Spurs side that defends deep.

This has perhaps proven critics right and rebuffed Guardiola's own assertion that both strikers could be used to break stubborn defences.

Haaland's future thrown in doubt

There is a reported clause in Haaland's contract that states he could leave the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2024, to perhaps replace Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

As Sports Brief also reported, the striker's future was cast in doubt after his agent, Rafaela Pimenta claimed he is worth a staggering €1-billion in transfer costs.

The agent then explained that Haaland's influence at Man City is what made him worth the fee, which would beat the current world record cost for a player.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
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