Pep Guardiola: Why 2023/2024 Premier League Title Is Most Significant of Them All

Pep Guardiola: Why 2023/2024 Premier League Title Is Most Significant of Them All

Martin Moses
updated at May 20, 2024 at 9:06 AM
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  • Pep Guardiola's Manchester City etched their name in Premier League history
  • The side became the first team ever to win four back-to-back top-flight titles
  • Sports Brief takes a look at why this is the most significant of all their titles

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Saying Pep Guardiola is the greatest manager in football history, at this point, sounds redundant. The panache and grandeur he has dominated the Premier League with is second to none.

If a fourth consecutive title, six in eight years, doesn't speak to his immense success enough as a manager, then perhaps this statistic should. No manager has won more European major honours since he made his debut on the touchline in the 2008/2009 season.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Premier League title, Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez
Manchester City's boss Pep Guardiola celebrates with the 2023/2024 Premier League trophy at the Etihad Stadium on May 19. Photo by Visionhaus.
Source: Getty Images

It gets crazier; he has more than double the number of titles the second manager has. Guardiola has 33 major honours, while Carlo Ancelotti, number two on the list, has 14.

The party started in earnest after the final whistle on May 19, but it will quieten down as they seek to become the first side to do a 'double-double' when they play Manchester United in the FA Cup final this weekend.

After all is said and done, it shouldn't be lost that this Premier League title is perhaps the greatest trophy Guardiola has ever won. Sports Brief looks at why this is just more impressive than the other titles.

1. Selling key stars and not finding 'adequate' replacements

There was much talk about the gap Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan would leave when they exited the club last summer. The two were vital in Guardiola's successes, with the latter often instrumental in crucial games during the run-in.

Their replacements didn't inspire much confidence, as the club signed Jeremy Doku, Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes. Of the three, Kovacic was the more experienced, but he still didn't hit the heights of Gundogan.

The Croat and Doku all played their roles in the title-winning run but were seldom used by Guardiola compared to how he called on Mahrez and Gundogan.

Nonetheless, Guardiola still found a working formula to keep churning out results despite the glaring absences.

2. Injuries to key players

As if losing Gundogan wasn't enough, Kevin De Bruyne tore his hamstring in the first game of the season and missed out until December.

The Belgian has been the brains of City's attack, and his miss was bound to be felt. Top scorer Erling Haaland also missed more than a month with a foot injury. John Stones, Ederson, and Jack Grealish have also been in and out of the team all season.

To counter this, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez stepped up and filled the gap, with De Bruyne and Haaland complementing their efforts when they returned. Haaland won the Golden Boot once again, while Foden won the Player of the Season Award.

3. Strength of fellow title contenders

While Manchester City appeared weakened by the exit of key players and injuries to the remaining stars, their opponents, Liverpool and Arsenal, strengthened massively.

The Gunners forked out a tidy sum of over £100 million to land Declan Rice. The English international transformed Mikel Arteta's side as they went toe-to-toe with his former employers.

Liverpool also rediscovered their touch this season, and at some point, it looked like they would run away with the league. The signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai injected the much-needed impetus into Jurgen Klopp's midfield.

The presence of Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur also presented Guardiola with awkward games. In fact, Manchester City only won two games against the sides that finished in the top six.

Arsenal will be scratching their heads about what more they need to do to better Guardiola. Sign another £100 million player?

4. Congested schedule

Manchester City's midfield kingpin Rodri is on record this season asking for rest as the games piled up. Despite their quarter-final exit in the Champions League, no other side played more games than the Citizens this season.

They started with the Community Shield, before playing the Super Cup in Greece. They then flew to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup. All these games came in between Premier League games and domestic cup competitions.

If you take the 'lean' squad into consideration and the number of miles they had to travel throughout the season compared to their rivals, you get the full picture of the kind of odds Guardiola overcame.

5. Four is history

No team has ever managed four consecutive Premier League titles before - until Manchester City did on May 19. That in itself is explanatory.

Guardiola's side will be remembered for winning the club's first Champions League title, the treble, but winning four back-to-back trophies in a league considered the hardest in the world will rank highly forever.

Premier League's greatest heartbreaks

Sports Brief has also reported on the teams that got the most points but still failed to win the title.

Arsenal reached 89 points but failed to win the 2023/2024 trophy, as Manchester City got two more points.

Liverpool reached 97 points in the 2018/2019 season but were runners-up to Guardiola's side, who finished with one more point.

Authors
Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
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