Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Opinion: Guardiola should be left alone.

Its now the ruthless nature of football. Coaches and players are judged the minute the ball is kicked and every single error is scrutinized and placed under the microscope. No one seems to believe in long term projects anymore and ultimately the manager suffers the full brunt. Its unfortunate but yet that's where the game of football is at. Bayern Munich, so successful under Jupp Heynckes last season, swept all before them but decided to hire Pep Guardiola, the brilliant ex Barcelona coach who oversaw possibly the best years in Barcelona history winning 14 trophies in 4 years. The Bayern Hierachy wanted a new brand of football with the aim of conquering Germany and Europe for years to come. Its a project that has been underway for less than 3 months and already the jury is out on Guardiola. That's just way too soon.

A good coach doesn't rely on singular framework just because it worked so well. Guardiola, even though he may not admit it, will have felt he should have at least given Barcelona a Plan B or even C during his tenure. Their tiki- taka appraoch worked so well but eventually they got found out and their approach became too predictable so teams just sat back and caught them on the break. Pep doesn't want to make the same mistake at Bayern. Under Heynckes, the Bavarians played a flat 4-2-3-1 formation that led them to a treble. It was efficient and everybody was comfortable with the system. Maybe too comfortable for Guardiola.

Pep knows sticking with a particular formation for a long period may mean they are streamlined into a particular pattern and players may not be able to adapt into various positions. During his last months at Barce, he started tinkering using 3-4-3 formations and employing Dani Alves further up the pitch. He also used Cesc Fabregas as a false 9 on numerous occassions. It worked to some degree but it was a little too late.

Most people are complaining with his current tinkering with Bayern which has seen them start slowly in the Bundesliga. They feel last season's formation is the best for the team and Pep is ruining a perfect team. Also selling Luiz Gustavo didn't go down too well with some fans. For Pep, it would seem easy to kick back and employ Heynckes tactics; Life would be so much easier. But this is a world class coach who has been brought in to revolutionize a team that has so much potential, A team that has so much talent coupled with the arrivals of Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara needs to be tinkered with. So far this season I can't fault any of Pep's decisions. His decision to use a single defensive midfielder is justified seeing that Bayern push so much up the pitch and are good at ball re-possession. The demerits of this formation was seen against Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea but it is expected seeing as the team is new to the formation. Also injuries to Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and Bastian Schweinsteiger have also forced Pep to tinker more. For me, using Lahm as a midfielder against Chelsea was just genius and only Pep would have thought of such a move. The midfield was humming as usual and using Muller as a midfielder has not been a terrible decision seeing as the German does play there on occasion and gives room to a much improved Arjen Robben. As for selling Luiz Gustavo, the Brazilian wasn't even a starter under Heynckes and with the World Cup around the corner, it made sense for him to move in order to get regular football.

The current team may not be perfect, may not be free scoring, but people need to see the big picture and realize Pep is building for the future. He needs to impart his footballing philosophy but can't do that if people are constantly on his case. The Bayern players also need to step up and realize a new manager brings new methods. They must get with the program.

Bayern may currently be behind Dortmund but the potential I see in Gaurdiola's Bayern means its only a matter of time before they start destroying opponents. This is a great team managed by a great manger. He just needs time.

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  1. na who hold am.. yawns*

  2. nice piece.. u dwelled so much on his tactics and not statistics