Pep Guardiola is a legendary tactician. He is famous for being a tremendous student of the game, and spending plenty of hours in the film room. He’s a mastermind to be sure, but sometimes he can get in his own way.
There have been times when Pep has overthought his game plan, and just gotten too cute, so to speak. Conversing with the news media earlier today, ahead of tomorrow’s League Cup quarterfinal at Southampton, Guardiola hinted at a potential a surprise that he’s plotting for the Manchester derby on Saturday.
Manchester Derby FYIs
Kickoff: Jan 14, 12:30pm, Old Trafford
Starting XI Predictions: United City (coming soon)
Team News: United City (coming soon)
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Google Result Probability: United 22% City 54% Draw 24%
Table Position: United 4th, 35 pts City 2nd, 39 pts
PL Form Guide: United WWWWL City WDWLW
“I would like to arrive against United with the average of minutes in the legs of the players quite similar because I have a few ideas, thoughts, ridiculous ones against United,” said Guardiola, admitting that he’s already looking past tomorrow’s match, and ahead to the huge league fixture on the weekend.
“I didn’t watch the last [United] games. I have to see the way they play at home [against Charlton on Tuesday] and if they change something. I have to still review it. That is why I don’t have a clear lineup against United.”
There you have it Erik ten Hag- you’ve been warned.
That’s right, it is already time to preview the Manchester derby, and with that, analyze the mind games that are being played.
Guardiola has been shaking it up lately. He left both Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne out against Chelsea on Sunday, for the FA Cup third round clash. His side trounced the Blues anyway, 4-0, and frankly, it was even more lopsided than that score indicates.
“I would say the game against Chelsea I made a lot of changes for one reason; how tired I saw some players after the game [against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge],” Guardiola continued.
“We arrived too late and in the training the day after I saw the players tired in training.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.