Does Pep Guardiola “Overthink” Big Games?

Does Pep Guardiola “Overthink” Big Games?

Pep Guardiola has been accused by some of
overthinking his approach to Champions League knock-out games, especially away from home.
While his sweeping tactical changes ahead of such games, away from City’s consistent
4-3-3 and best players and towards more responsive, opposition-focussed approaches, still require
a bravery of thought, Guardiola seems overly caught up in anticipating and responding to
the opposition. As these stats from One Football show, City
set up against Spurs with an unusual line-up and, although the sides were well matched
statistically, Jonathan Wilson among others has noted Guardiola’s conservative approach,
an unusual lack of faith in his normal methods and preferred players. And, as Wilson and others have noted, Guardiola
has previous in this respect. Against Barcelona away in May 2015, Guardiola
used a three man back line, despite having mostly used a four man defence in the Campions
League to that point – although he did used three at the back in a 7-1 away win against
Roma in the group stages. Rafinha was curiously deployed on the left of the three centre backs,
perhaps to show Lionel Messi inside with his right foot, but it was an unusual switch,
even if Bayern had used something similar in a cup game against Dortmund shortly before. There appeared to be two reasons for this:
firstly, Guardiola clearly wanted to press Barcelona high, and to do this he needed superior
numbers up the pitch, which meant having a three vs three against Barcelona’s front
line. A risk, but the intent seems to have been to deny Messi, Suarez, and Neymar the
ball in the first place through pressing. The second aim was to congest the middle before
running the strikers, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, into the channels, with Bastien
Schweinsteiger supporting through the centre, Juan Bernat using the space on the left, and
Thiago pushing up and in on the right. This was a response to Barcelona’s own pressing,
and perhaps a recognition that, without Arjen Robben in particularly, Bayern would struggle
to create through overloads and would need to be more direct. After a helter-skelter opening fifteen minutes,
Guardiola changed to something of a midfield diamond with a back four, Rafinha moving back
across to right back from the left side of the three defenders. Bayern were able to out-number
Barcelona’s three man midfield, and the strikers continued to break into the channels,
but Guardiola’s side suffered from a lack of natural width, with Barcelona’s full
backs pinning Bayern’s back, and none of Bayern’s midfield moving wide often. This conservative approach seems at odds with
how Guardiola usually looks to stretch the opposition out wide and create overloads,
especially to then switch the play. Indeed, it was Barcelona who most successfully managed
this during the game. Bayern started too frantically in the press, reorganised drastically – which
may or may not have been the plan all along – and ultimately seemed to have changed
too much from their normal game-plan to play with their normal fluency, even with enforced
changes due to injury. Against Liverpool, Guardiola again sought
to stiffen the midfield with a very lop-sided 4-2-3-1 that saw Ilkay Gundogan playing on
the right wing but really dropping off an tucking in. This demanded a lot from Kyle
Walker from right full back in both defence and attack on the right flank, while Leroy
Sane played far higher and, behind him, Aymeric Laporte played half as a left back and half
as left-sided central defender. This allowed City to create a midfield square,
but Kevin De Bruyne’s depth meant he was not able to be as involved in attacks. Again,
as Bayern were often reduced to playing long balls into the wide spaces, direct passes
to Walker were City’s best ‘out’ ball, as Liverpool’s fluid front three worked
hard to negate the midfield overload, while still being able to contribute in attack. Again, Guardiola seemed to sacrifice his attacking
instinct for the security afforded by a bulked out midfield but, in doing so, made it harder
for City to impose themselves on a game. Liverpool, ruthless on the counter and with the press,
took City apart despite Guardiola’s tactical changes. Against Spurs, this conservatism was again
evident with the selection of Gundogan and Mahrez over De Bruyne and Sane, which would
have seen Sterling on the right instead of wide left. Guardiola looked to clog the midfield,
with a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 shape often seen out of possession and the full backs not advancing
as high as normal. This left City unable to pass their way through Spurs’ superb man-marking
system, while Fernandinho and Gundogan especially seemed unable to deal with the consistent
pressure brought to bear by Spurs’ midfield. What’s worth noting here is that there are
probably only a few things that Guardiola really fears. But that list includes his former
team Barcelona, especially so soon after he had left them, Pochettino, a pupil of Bielsa
who understands the game as well as Guardiola, and Klopp, whose energetic, high pressing
style has consistently been a thorn in Guardiola’s side. As Wilson has noted, “[Guardiola’s] first
defeat in English football came at White Hart Lane in October 2016, a pummelling in which
his City were overpowered…Guardiola has often seemed preoccupied by the physicality
of Mauricio Pochettino’s team.” And before the Liverpool game in 2018, City
had been beaten 4-3 in a scintillating game at Anfield. Maybe the truth is that Guardiola thinks as
much about these games as he does any other, but that Klopp, Pochettino, and, back in 2015,
a Barcelona team mostly of his own creation, cause him to react to those thoughts differently,
more reactive and conservatively than usual.

100 thoughts on “Does Pep Guardiola “Overthink” Big Games?

  1. Yeah I liked it, and I like this thinking theory what if. However when Pep would use his usual tactics and lost then the argument will be that he is not adjusting to UCL final stages etc

  2. Guardiola had to pick a weird formation against Barca in 2015. A ton of players were injured, even Sebastian Rode came to play…

  3. It hilarious to see or read the anti guardiola bandwagon jumping here to wax lyrical about ropey spurs team. Spurs were poor beyond imagination and hardly bothered to play at Etihad. Had it not been for Laporte and his flimsy defending, spurs would’ve not even managed to score a single goal. Besides bottletino will lose the semi-finals play off against Ajax. Marcelo bielsa is not nemesis to guardiola, if anything bielsa loves Guardiola, simply because there is no football manager out there who breathes football in every walk of his life

  4. What this proves is that city are not tactically adaptable. They get too much praise for being a great side and in actual fact they're not great outside of their comfort zone. Even Newcastle defeated his possession based game tho so it's not as if he's unbeatable.

  5. i think he does because if he loses its always by a big amount (and normally the team that wins breaks his team on the counter due to such a high line)

  6. He struggled away from home against good teams. Even struggled against Moyes utd,Shakhtar Donetsk,Porto,Monaco,Benfica. That's just plain bad for a great manager like him.






  12. I don't think Spurs are better quality than Man City , so please stop overhyping Guardiola , he is a great coach but he is not the best on the stage at all.

  13. A basement dwelling youtuber with zero experience in professional football questioning the best manager in world football LOL LOL LOL LOL

  14. this is bullshit. just because he lost vs spurs it doesnt mean anything. if that last goal wasnt ruled out nobody would have said shit

  15. He is a genius, he can not help but overthink tactics. I once got really mad when he put Fabregas as False Nine and field no striker at Barca games, but hey they still won a lot those days.

  16. Most people here started watching barcelona when pep took over..before pep, barca won 1 CL in 13 years, 1 laliga in 8 yrs…Laliga was all about real madrid. Had pep not come to barca, the best barca team wont have been born. Rijkaard's team relied heavily on Ronaldinho. Players like Messi would still be in the shadows. Rijkaard didnt have too much faith on Xavi and thats why he bought CL winner, Deco to play that role. Xavi was reported to leave barcelona. Rijkaard also bought CL finalist in Guily and that meant iniesta would continue to be a wonder kid. Had pep not taken over, Messi, Xavi and iniesta would just be anyother squad player. Remember, Ronaldinho was 27 years, Deco was 26 and Guily was 26 when pep got rid of them. Players like Busquet,Pedro,thiago WILL NEVER had made it big cuz they were all reserve players..Pique definitely would never be regarded. Pep basically used his Team B players to win the league and built his game around messi.

  17. Oh, shut the fuck up! Give the city 10 more mints they could have kicked Tottenham out. City approves every year with Pep that by 2022 they will be unbeatable.

  18. As a Bayern Munich Fan, I have to say, that in 2015 a lot of players were injured, so it was impossible to play the system, that we played the whole season. A better example would be Athletico in 2016, where he benched Müller and Ribery.

  19. The guys a winner, won countless number of trophies and could still win 3 this year, but still gets fckin criticised

  20. Get it through your heads, people, he's just a hack who only coaches best teams of each championship thus the Bundes league , EPL, La liga were easy trophies and when it comes to Champions league – without Messi he is a pathetic coward (and also a hack).

  21. He is not a great, with Barcelona and Messi even i can win Champions Leauge but with other team he can not cuz he is not great.

  22. As of this season hes probably the best manager in the world. Bad VAT decisions like Tottenhams handball and the not offside aguero assist ruined his seadon.

  23. his main issue is the defence, his teams NEVER EVER had great defence. Even in Barcelona the defence was the weak link sort of, but he had that amazing midfield of Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets in their prime and the exceptional strike force.Remember in that 2010 semifinal at the San Siro Inter went at them at had loads of chances.Even though one of Inter's goals was a clear off-side, it was a well deserved 3-1 win for Nerazzuri.
    In 2011 they had massive trouble against real when they played 11 v 11.Yes they dominated but mourinhos tactics allowed them to do so.The first goal was when madri were down to 10 men.
    his main issue is not being able to keep a clean sheet awy from home
    conceeded in 09 against chelsea early on, got well beaten in milan by inter in 2010
    2012 lost 1-0 against sub par chelsea
    2014 lost in madrid 1-0
    2015 lost 3-0 in barcelona
    2016 lost 1-0 against atletico de madrid
    2017 conceeded 3 against monaco
    2018 conceeded 3 at anfield
    lost 1-0 at spurs now

    2010,2012,2014,2015,2016,2018,2019 were all away and he couldnt ONCE keep a clean sheet-also not scoring way from home except inter and monaco when he conceeded 3 anyway
    only in 2011 against madrid and that largely due to mourinho tactics and last 30 minutes madrid being down to 10 men
    his main issue is first leg , especially away from home
    conceedes always, almost never scores

  24. Overrated manager…… Luis Enrique won a treble and it looks like Valverde will also win the treble ….. Barcelona has amongst the players in the world including possibly the best player in the history of football…… pep hasn’t won much since leaving Barca

  25. Holding Suarez, Messi and Neymar with 3 men is really a bad decision. Like even 2 of them have the worst match ever there’s no chance.

  26. Mourinho and Sir Alex are the best managers ever with two different respective approaches. Even tho Mou got sacked, Still nothing changed in my opinion since 2011 when i thought for a second it can change. Pep should’ve stayed in Barca honestly. Still top 5 mangers tho maybe this just was not his season.

  27. Do we over analyse things? Brian Clough would say so. As he said how can someone ascertain if you are the right man when they no nothing about football. What poppycock this is? Why is this lad not a manager if he is so clever. Tool

  28. Hey tifo can you explain why Getafe are doing so well in the league? Tactics, changes off the pitch, effects to the city

  29. ok ur wrong. vs barcelona, the bayern squad was depleted that year with injuries. sometimes i feel im wasting my vast knowledge on university lol

  30. yes he does, and it's his biggest weakness
    it's not the opponents who knock him out of competitions, it's him himself
    instead of just putting the best possible starting 11 and let them do their job, he plays around with the squad and tactics
    why put marhez in the squad for the 1st leg, when he basically gets a chance to play with weaker teams, and is not suitable for big games due to lack of team spirit on the pitch
    why no bernardo silva, no de bruyne, no sane
    especially sane, i don't get why the guy's being ignored, he scored 15 and assisted 18 in 43 games this season lol
    on the other hand, had aguero scored from the penalty spot in london, they would have probably reached the semi-finals

  31. The fact is that he wants his players to always focus on every match, and that it is not always positive … sometimes humans cannot always bring out 100% of the ability in every game … Sometimes you need to relax a bit in one match, so you can focus 100% on the bigger matches.

    And that's one of the reasons why zidane's Madrid won the third ucl in a row..They used to be actually not really invincible.
    Only, they know when to play "nothing to loose" and not make the slightest mistake at the right match

  32. What overthinking? If another manager did this people would call that manager a brain dead. Pep has been shit ever since leaving Barca and it has nothing to do with overthinking, but with the fraud he really is.

  33. tifo, i love your channel : great work, great content, always a pleasure. I do however wish that you had also included an analysis on the Bayern Munich defeat against Simeone's Athletico Madrid and the 5-0 thrashing by Carlo Ancelotti

  34. Such a nice Vid, thanks to Youtube for showing me this.
    I think he really tries too many new tactical things in big games, which would be very very effective against the opponent if his players really understand the tactic. But it‘s not the players fault if they rarely play these tactical pieces of Guardiola…
    Sorry for my bad english btw 😉

  35. No he doesn't overthink. His issue is that he isn't managing Barcelona anymore. He walks into the best teams on the planet and can't get the job done.

    Most overrated manager of this century. Needs the biggest budget in football and cant even get to semi-finals of the Champions League. He was a downgrade from Jupp Heycknes at Bayern, that is a fact.

  36. No he doesn't over think anything..
    We have played more games than any other team this season so sometimes we have to change things around… not hard is it to be honest… unluckily we went out but hey we've still got 3 to play for.

  37. Guardiola might overthink some big games. But, his stats overall in 10 years are very impressive. Mourinho, on the other hand, is a fucking overrated mofo. I would take Guardiola and Klopp any day over that overrated arse clown – Mounrinho. Guardiola also develops his players. He brings the best out of them and improves them, something Mourinho is incapable of doing.

  38. Ironically, this analysis well 'overthinks' whatever tactical decisions City have made for whatever reasons they may have had. It's very easy to question anything whenever a team loses.

    There are far too many questionable assumptions and conclusions made in this video.

    Firstly, De Bruyne has struggled with injury all season. It's not a secret. They've used him sparingly and he got more seriously injured recently. Resting players is a sound long term strategy that every team does. The claim that players are left out because Pep 'overthinks' games is simply ignorant. Every City player has been working very hard for a very long time and it's actually amazing that they've been able to perform as well as they have in all competitions for so long.

    So, clearly the speaker is ignorant to not only what is happening at City but they're also ignorant to the state of the game and the challenges that teams have at the highest level. These are still games that human beings have to play. It's the real world not Playstation.

    There are many reasons Guardiola favors putting numbers in the midfield. It's his style of play and it also suits his personnel. City aren't the biggest, most physical side. City win games by winning the midfield and playing the possession game better, smarter, and faster than any other team. Most of their players are suited to this style of play. Midfield dominance is not conservatism. Further, to say that switching Sane for Mahrez is conservative doesn't make sense. Mahrez is primarily an offensive player who has the liberty to run at people. This isn't even a sound example for the claim you're trying to make.

    Also, if you haven't been sleeping all season, congesting the midfield has been very popular with many teams. 3-5-2 and similar formations are back in style and it actually makes a lot of sense at the highest level. What many people don't know is that all over Europe 3-5-2 is something that's taught in most high level youth academies. So, many players know how to play it. The strength of 3-5-2 is that it teaches and expresses role specialization. In the end, any formation with 3 in the back is not likely to be viewed by anyone as 'conservative.'

    This person not only doesn't understand what's actually happening at City, but they don't understand the game at the highest level. Further, several statements indicate that this person doesn't even understand the game at its lowest or most basic level.

    This is what's wrong with public internet discourse. Any unqualified person can just say anything and post it to youtube. It's very easy to burn on a public figure or a popular club that's experienced any sort of set back.

    This speaker is ignorant to the club, the manager, the players, and the game. His suggestions would likely ruin one of the best teams in the world overnight.

    Also, it's so easy to pick on Pep. He's 'arrogant' and a 'thinker' so he must be 'overthinking' right?

  39. You lot are overthinking it. The man’s a fucken fraud. He picked up the best teams only to ruin them. Can’t manage a team to save his life. Every time he faces a team of equal value he chokes miserably. And liverpool will win the premier league which will mean his performances will have been weaker than pellegrini’s (he got the squad to the ucl semis). Buy defenders worth 300 mil but use zinchenko and delph as left backs, fernandinho as stopper. Had anyone else done that they’d be called dumb, but he’s called a “genius”. Wake the fuck up.

  40. I personally think he fears the players more than the manager. He fears messi neymar suarez more than enrique. He fears salah mane firmino more than klopp and he fears son kane and eriksen more than pochettino. Because without these players the manager can think, direct the play all he can but the players is the one who decide on the pitch.

  41. I think it was documented that in the Champions League 2013 semi final against Real Madrid, Guardiola asked the players how they wanted to play, and they went with it.

    They lost 4-0. Kinda stings.

  42. The main problem for me with Guardiola is that he simple does not know how to play a 0-0 score. He start the game like is alrealdy loosing the game. You dont really need to think how to have the ball against MSN Barcelona, you have to first think a way to stop the MSN attack. Jupp Heynckes did this, how can I stop Guardiola Barcelona attack? then, when he found the solution, Robben, Ribery and the others can counter attack. The real problem with Guardiola is that he does not know how to defense, hot to stop other teams ofenses. Every coach againts that Real Madrid was worried with Cristiano Ronaldo and the counter attacks, except Guardiola. He likes to think different, like, if he had a chance to play against Messi again, he will not worry about him. So, he only overthink ofensive, he lessthink for defense tacticals.

  43. Yes he does he fucked big times during UCL games vs Liverpool
    Even when he coach Bayern he fucked 3 times against Spanish sides

  44. He does overthink lol even against Brighton on the final day of the season he started with sterling and Aguero in the middle with mahrez on the left wing something he never would have done if that game was played at a different point in the season. Man City we’re playing really bad with this change in formation but luckily he changed it in time

  45. well, than what about Monaco – City from 3 years ago? Did he overthink that too? 🙂 The reality is more simple than this. Guardiola is an overrated coach who had the luck and conjuncture to have best team in every league he was and it was hard not to win something with. Although Champions League is a different level. Guardiola didn't play CL final in the last 7 years, and that even though he had fantastic squads of players at Barca, Bayern and City. At City he didn't even get in semifinals. You speak about Klop in the video. Well, Klop went to Champions League final with Dortmund which was nowhere near the level of Guardiola's teams in terms of squad of finances. Liverpool was just an average team before Klop went there. Klop won Bundesliga with Dortmund twice, while Guardiola won Bundesliga with Bayern. I think all the guys who comment here can win Bundesliga with Bayern these days.

  46. Pep biggest strength is his biggest weakness, fear of stagnation and being worked out. When it's not broken dont fix it

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