Pep Guardiola and his many firsts during his reign as Manchester City manager

16:00 SAST 2022/05/13
GOAL takes a look at the very firsts of Guardiola as Man City manager...

When Pep Guardiola was unveiled as the manager of Manchester City in July 2016, he shared that playing good football was what he was aiming for. Five years on, we can safely state that Pep has emphatically ticked that box.

Guardiola's Manchester City have gone on to become one of the best sides in the Premier League history, having won the title three times in the last five years. City continue to play entertaining and dominating football while improving week after week, but let’s take a look at a few firsts in Pep’s journey at the Etihad and how they unfolded.

The First Win

On August 13, 2016, Guardiola took charge of his first Premier League game against Sunderland A.F.C. and much to the delight of City fans worldwide, they won the match 2-1.

The excitement in the air was palpable, as City fans saw Pep enthusiastically shout out instructions from the sideline for the very first time as City’s manager. Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock and a late own goal by Paddy McNair meant the men in blue clinched all three points.

City ended the match with 77% possession and 16 shots, which showed the world that the Pep era has well and truly begun in Manchester.

The First Manchester Derby

Thrilling for the neutrals and nerve-wracking for the fans, the Manchester Derby never fails to excite. However, the fact that it was the first time Pep squared off against his old adversary Jose Mourinho in the Premier League made it all the more special.

Going into it, Pep had enjoyed a perfect start to life at City since he hadn’t lost a game yet. Sergio Aguero was absent due to a three match-ban, which meant the youngster Kelechi Iheanacho got a chance to start upfront.

After an electrifying end-to-end 90 minutes which featured 14 shots from Manchester United F.C and 18 from City, Pep’s men came out on top with goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho. The final score ending 2-1, in favour of the Cityzens.

The First Title Run

During Pep’s first season in City, he brought in 7 major signings , and tried different formations during the 38 games in an attempt to settle on his best 11. In the second, further reinforcements arrived as City brought in Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Danilo, Bernardo Silva, and Ederson Moraes.

The stage was set for City to morph into one of the best teams the Premier League had ever seen, but hardly anybody could anticipate the sheer excellence with which they did it.

Raheem Sterling impressed under Pep’s second season saw him finish the campaign with 18 goals and 15 assists. Meanwhile, the likes of Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph adapted well to Pep’s high-pressing tactics. As a result, City won the league whilst accumulating a record-breaking 100 points, effectively being labelled the "Centurions".

They also broke records for most wins (32), most goals (106), the biggest title-winning margin (19 points) and most away wins in a campaign (16).

The First FA Cup Win

In the season to follow the 2017/2018 campaign, fans expected things to get better, and it certainly did. Over the course of the FA cup run, City scored 26 goals, and won the final with a whopping 6-0 result against Watford F.C. Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling played a vital role, scoring 11 goals collectively.

In that season, City won the domestic treble which further emphasized that Pep had translated his vision from the drawing board onto the pitch.

Since his arrival in Manchester, City have established themselves as one of the powerhouses of European football. Pep has been at the forefront of it all, orchestrating every stellar performance the fans have been fortunate to witness. With the way things are going, there seems to be no slowing down for the Cityzens.