Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest managers of his generation, will have woken up with a sore head this morning (Monday) after his Man City side were humbled 5-2 at home to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City on Sunday.
The Foxes’ five-star performance condemned Guardiola to one of the heaviest defeats of his managerial career, as the Spaniard experienced what it was like to concede five goals in a single game for the first time; something that had never happened to any of his teams, stretching over a whopping 685 matches.
It’s David Moyes who has so far dominated the next Premier League manager to leave market since the new season got underway, and the Scot remains the favourite despite overseeing - via Zoom - a surprise 4-0 victory over Wolves.
However, the major mover in the betting over the weekend was Guardiola whose own odds were sliced from 25/1 to 14/1 (Paddy Power) to be the first top-flight manager out of the door this season.
Guardiola headed into the Leicester clash on the back of six successive Premier League wins, across two seasons, and his side looked all set for another routine win after Riyad Mahrez fired them ahead after just four minutes.
Few could have then foreseen the dramatic scenes of the next 60 minutes of play as the wounded hosts trudged off the pitch on the back of a shock 5-2 defeat.
The manner and margin of the loss was alarming. City’s defensive complacency and vulnerability was ruthlessly exposed by Jamie Vardy and co, as three different City defenders inexplicably gave away a penalty.
Man City 2-5: Leicester: It's the first time in 686 games that a Pep Guardiola side conceded five goals
The history books reveal that a manager from one of the ‘Big Six’ clubs has not been the first to leave since Roberto Di Matteo was axed by Chelsea back in November 2012; not too long after he won the Champions League and FA Cup double.
Meanwhile, Man City themselves haven’t been the first Premier League club to dispense with a manager since Peter Reid was sacked just four matches into the 1993/94 season.
On Sunday, Guardiola became the first Man City manager to lose an opening top-flight home game since Mel Machin back in 1989/90, but while it’s easy to criticize a gaffer in the aftermath of such a damaging defeat: is there actually any possibility that Guardiola could become the first top-flight casualty of the campaign?
While not completely out of the question - this is the Premier League managerial arena we are talking about - it’s extremely difficult, in fact near on impossible, to envision City getting rid of Guardiola. If the boss was to leave the Etihad, it would be by his own accord, and even the chances of that appear remote at the moment.
Should this unlikely scenario occur though, it’s Mauricio Pochettio who currently tops the next Man City manager market, ahead of Nuno Santo, Patrick Vieira and Rodgers.
Pep Guardiola's spending on Man City defenders...— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) September 28, 2020
- Ruben Dias: £65m
- Aymeric Laporte: £58.5m
- Joao Cancelo: £58.5m
- Benjamin Mendy: £51.7m
- John Stones: £50m
- Kyle Walker: £47.4m
- Nathan Ake: £41m
- Danilo: £27m
- Angelino: £11m
- Pedro Porro: £10m
- Yan Couto: £5m 💰 pic.twitter.com/c6r6ACHp1n
"I am not going to give up, I am going to try to find solutions,” Guardiola stated after the game. He’ll need to work his magic sharpish as City could already find themselves six points adrift of Liverpool before they are next in top-flight action away to Leeds on Saturday.
For the moment, Guardiola will look to delve into the transfer market before the window slams shut at 11pm on October 5th. Benfica defender Ruben Dias is today expected to complete his move this week for a reported fee of £65m, meaning Guardiola would have spent over £100m on centre-halves this summer alone (Nathan Axe was £41m).
A striker could also be targeted given the injuries to Sergio Aguero and Jesus, although after making his Premier League debut on Sunday we could be seeing more of 17-year-old Liam Delap.