Pep Guardiola is finding out that Coronation Street is not the only soap opera set in Manchester

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 20 September 2018, 11:54

Wouldn't you have liked to be a fly on the wall at Manchester City on Wednesday night?

Manager Pep Guardiola banished to the stands, City becoming the first English team to lose four Champions League games in a row.

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With humanity’s inherent, mischievous fancy to watch trouble brewing this is much better viewing material than some sterilised in-house, soft-focus documentary like ‘All Or Nothing’.

The fact Guardiola is currently banned by UEFA from any contact with his players during Champions League games would not have stopped him getting his message across following the shock 2-1 home defeat to Lyon.

Whether it be via coach Mikel Arteta or a long list of late night, x-rated phone calls to each and every one of his polished stars, pointing out in no uncertain terms where they went wrong - this would be warts ‘n’ all TV.

And let’s be honest, we all prefer to get a ringside seat when things are going wrong. It’s why queues of rubberneckers form on the opposite side of a motorway when there is a crash. It’s why people like watching street fights and arguments on Youtube.

It’s why Jeremy Kyle and before him Jerry Springer cashed in big time by cajoling warring families to air their dirty laundry in public.

Last season’s sanitised All Or Nothing ‘expo’ on City’s run to the title was interesting, yes. But fascinating? No.

Much better to be in there with the cameras when it’s all going pear-shaped to see the real personalities come out, to see how people really react under pressure.

That’s when managers and coaches really earn their money; when the chips are down, when the £100 million striker cannot hit a barn door. You don’t see football in gory detail when the fly-on-the-wall is sponsored by Etihad Airways.

It actually says so much that City are now considered in a bit of a dip because they dropped two points against Wolverhampton Wanderers and three against Lyon in Europe.

Sweeping to the Premier League title with a record number of goals and swashbuckling football last season has actually made City stale.

There are people who turn off Match of the Day now when City are on because the easy wins were becoming too predictable.

Guardiola was supposedly ‘angry’ with his players for the manner of their 3-0 win over Fulham last weekend. They didn’t win easily enough?

Call me cynical but that sounds like a desperate stab at some drama for the next soft-focus documentary.

It’s good to see the big boys struggle; whether it be City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur. There is nothing wrong with that. It gives everyone else hope.

Winning games had started to become a bit too predictable for City - almost like a hobby.

And dare I say it their glitzy style of football can seem digitally enhanced at times. In the same way that ‘All Or Nothing’ was manufactured for TV.

‘Real’ football is a rare commodity these days, along with matchday programmes, floodlight pylons and half time Bovril.

So thank you Wolves and Lyon for making City sweat.


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