Comparing Manchester City With Arsenal’s Invincibles – Can Pep Guardiola Re-Create Arsene Wenger’s Magic?
In the 2003-04 Premier League season, Arsene Wenger and his team made the impossible happen. Arsenal scripted history as they went the entire season unbeaten and for a good period of time, it did not seem like any club would come close to emulating that. Fast forward to the 2017-18 season and you have Pep Guardiola’s exemplary Manchester City side. Having gone unbeaten in the league for 18 games, it does seem like the Sky Blues are capable of surpassing what the Gunners achieved.
First of all, City are ahead in terms of points. Arsenal at the same stage during that fateful season were about 10 points behind what Guardiola’s men have achieved so far. Having amassed a total of 52 points already, City are 11 points ahead of second-placed Manchester United. United were on an upward trajectory ever since the new season began and the Red Devils seemed like the only side that could break their dominion. However, one uneventful Manchester derby later, it can be safely deduced that nobody can stop them this season.
If they manage to stay unbeaten until the very end, Guardiola will actually beat Wenger’s record in terms of points. That one season established the French manager as an elite figure in English football and rightfully so, but if Guardiola manages to better that, what does it mean for him?
Before anything else, it must be noted that there is a stark difference between the two achievements. Arsenal have always been a side notorious for developing and honing players to build their reputation as one of the best across Europe. Also, back then, it was unimaginable to think of spending the kind of astronomical rates clubs splash out on players these days.
Even in the 2003-04 season, the Gunners achieved what they did by working together as a well-oiled machine. There were no big buys or exorbitant transfer deals – it was just a manager working with a bunch of players to extract the best out of them.
However, times have changed and price tags mean nothing to a club like Manchester City. Last season, City were strong but they lacked reinforcements in a lot of areas. Guardiola took note of all that and over the summer, he spent an amount estimated to be around £220million to procure and bring in new faces.
What Guardiola has done is truly commendable but would he be able to achieve the same without the financial resources? Probably not. On the other hand, it is also important to note that having money does not solve everything.
If that was the case, Roberto Mancini would have probably still managed Manchester City.
Hence, Guardiola will definitely achieve something great if he manages to keep City unbeaten but will it be as prolific as what Wenger achieved back then? It remains to be seen.