Manchester City: Pep Guardiola’s football exciting fans worldwide, says Shay Given

General John Kelly
Manchester City finished third in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge

Pep Guardiola has Manchester City playing a “special brand” of football that is exciting fans around the world, says ex-goalkeeper Shay Given.

Guardiola’s side top the Premier League by five points, scoring 35 goals in 10 games and dropping only two points.

City finished third in the Spaniard’s first season, and spent more than £200m on new players in the summer.

“The talent on show and even the talent on the bench at times is frightening for most teams,” Given told BBC Sport.

“The team Guardiola has built now is really exciting to watch.

“He’s been there a season and was in a sense feeling his way around the Premier League in his first campaign, strengthening again in the summer.

“It’s all good having that talent, but it’s getting the best out of the players and how they play, and Guardiola has got the balance absolutely spot on at the minute.”

Guardiola’s trophy haul at Barcelona included two Champions Leagues and three La Ligas, before winning three successive Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich.

But City have scored more goals than any other Guardiola side at this stage of a league campaign.

“Pep Guardiola has brought his brand of football to Man City now and people are likening it to the Barcelona of old,” added Given, who documents his two seasons at Etihad Stadium in his new autobiography Any Given Saturday.

“That was some team they had then, so if they are likened to that then they are doing something right.

“Even neutral fans must love watching Man City play and how they attack teams, their movement and they can score goals from all over the pitch – they are great to watch at the minute.

“The brand of football they are playing is very special and it excites people – not just the Man City fans, but people all around the world who love the Premier League.”

Man City ‘got summer signings right’

Ederson (left) joined Manchester City in the summer. Shay Given (right) spent two seasons with the club

City, who face Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday before hosting Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, were also top of the division at this stage last season – though Guardiola’s side are five points better off this time around.

They went on to finish third in 2016-17 and Given has warned that a strong start does not guarantee success.

“Hopefully Pep Guardiola will be trying to keep their feet on the ground, keep their heads balanced,” added the former Newcastle and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper.

But the 41-year-old believes Guardiola has addressed City’s defensive issues with the summer arrivals of goalkeeper Ederson and full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy.

Manchester City’s key summer arrivals
£43m – Bernardo Silva (Monaco)
£26.5m – Danilo (Real Madrid)
£35m – Ederson (Benfica)
£52m – Benjamin Mendy (Monaco)
£45m – Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

City conceded more than a goal a game during last year’s campaign, but have kept six clean sheets in their opening 10 Premier League fixtures this season.

“Last year, they were still very good going forward but they were conceding too many goals,” said Given.

“Ederson has looked very comfortable. Guardiola’s goalkeepers playing with their feet is well documented, but he is super confident with the ball, he never panics and his decision-making and his starting position is very positive.

“He has a belief in himself with the ball at his feet. He doesn’t panic when people are closing him down, the defenders around him are always making angles and the midfielders are dropping in to try and receive it off him.

“They have got that signing right this year.”

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