Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has named Liverpool, Arsenal, Brighton, Aston Villa and Leeds as the only top-flight clubs who don’t sit back and defend deep against his team.
When asked whether Premier League sides have become even more defensive when facing the Citizens in recent years, Guardiola replied:
“Yeah. Most of them except Liverpool I would say, Brighton, Arsenal in some moments. Maybe I’m forgetting someone. Aston Villa, we played there a little bit too. Leeds as well. But as a principle, when we make a good build-up, they sit. But, honestly, I’m not saying anything’s wrong. Every manager, every team can do whatever they want, absolutely. It’s in our hands how to break them.”
As Guardiola says himself, he is not complaining about the situation, but it does present its own challenges when you have to break down ten men behind the ball almost every single week.
It is understandable that some of the weaker teams don’t want to open up when they face City due to the fear that they could be on the wrong end of a hiding.
However, there are other clubs, with more talented squads, who decide to defend rather than attack Guardiola’s side and that doesn’t always lend itself to an attractive spectacle when City line up to face them.