The current Premier League champions, Manchester City, have released a new documentary series titled, ‘Together: Champions Again!’ that gives us a sneak peek into their title-winning campaign of 2021/22.
The first episode of the seven-part series is now streaming on the City+ application and is a sequel to the feature-length film, ‘Together,’ that captured the final 45 days of City’s 2020/21 campaign.
In this episode, an animated Pep Guardiola seems to deliver a motivating talk to his players on the training ground before their mouth-watering clashes against Chelsea, Liverpool, and Paris Saint-Germain, all of which took place within eight days in the latter half of September and early October in 2021.
The Spanish manager who lives and breathes the tactic of possession-based football is seen imparting the importance of keeping the ball once again. He mentions a fierce opponent as an example that would do anything to keep the ball at his feet and asks his players to do everything in their might to contain him.
The player that Guardiola seems to fear is Chelsea’s midfield general, N’Golo Kante. For him, Kante will cover every inch of the pitch to snatch the ball and run towards the goal. For him, the French international is a tireless ball retaining machine that the Cityzens need to be beware of and learn something from.
Guardiola was well versed with Kante’s ability to break plays in the midfield but had to learn the hard way in the UEFA Champions League final, which Chelsea won by a narrow margin of one goal in 2021.
In that game, Kante received Ballon D’or shoutouts from the fans for his relentlessness to be present everywhere while producing important tackles on City’s star midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne. He helped to break City’s press and was hailed as one of the greatest midfielders to have played the game by the end of the victorious evening. This is the quality that Guardiola spoke about vehemently on the training grounds.
Kante’s persistence was on display again when the Cityzens visited Stamford Bridge in the first half of the 2021/22 season. Even though Guardiola’s men escaped with a victory, Kante completely rattled and took out City’s trustworthy midfielder Rodri with a sneaky skill, proving the Spaniard’s apprehensions about the Frenchman.
Somehow, City lifted the title on the last day of the previous season, but the squad had to push through the last leg and declare themselves as champions. For Guardiola, it was the most special title he had lifted in his career. But there is still one thing that he wants from his team – to keep the ball at all costs. Just like Kante.
Manchester City now has a tough task in hand this upcoming Saturday. Liverpool stands firm between them and the Community Shield.
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