Energy management is a popular talking point in sport these days, an area Pep Guardiola is no stranger to. The Catalonian native has stamped his possession based trademark football on each of the teams he has managed.
During his highly successful stint at Barcelona, the famous 6 second rule was implemented. When their opposition won possession, every Barcelona player immediately pressed towards the ball frantically for 6 seconds, instead of dropping back to reorganise.
The current Manchester City side place a unique emphasis on utilizing their goalkeeper to play the ball out from the back. This contributes to their attacking build up play, but more importantly stretches their opposition forcing them to expend further energy on thankless runs.
Tottenham host Man City in their new stadium next Tuesday in what will be the third time the sides meet in eleven days. Pochettino must cautiously decide how his side set up against City’s energy zapping strategy. Should Kane and Son be instructed to press the ball high, it would surely take its toll over 3 crucial games against a numerically advantaged squad.
Logic would suggest that Spurs may have to frequently retreat and surrender territory with a view to catching City on the counter, a strategy that may play into the hands of a well drilled Manchester City.
At this juncture last year, Liverpool threw caution to the wind and overturned City to the surprise of many, however the diligent Pep Guardiola will have learned from last years quarter-final woes as his sights are firmly set on the quadruple.
2pt win – UCL Outright, Man City 9/4 (BetXS)
By Ciarán Cunningham, 7/4/2019