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MANCHESTER CITY

Is this Pep Guardiola's worst season as a manager?

Almost a quarter of the way into the Premier League season, questions are being asked about the current situation at reigning champions Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola
Reuters

For most sides, sitting in second place after eight games in arguably the toughest league in world football, would not be questioned. With this Manchester City team, however, doubts are being raised about the domestic treble winners of last season, with some asking whether Pep Guardiola is experiencing his worst season yet as a professional manager.

If City's Premier League start has had a couple of wobbles, the blistering pace that rivals Liverpool have shown (WWWWWWWW) has only seen the spotlight shine brighter on the reigning champions.

But is it really Pep's worst season as a coach?

Firstly, of course, it is only eight games into the season, far too early to make any firm statements about league form. There is, though, enough data to begin the comparisons with his other spells in charge of other clubs, something that can be developed as the campaign progresses.

In general, Guardiola's start to the season has been positive. A few surprising slip-ups aside, there have also been impressive wins including a battering of Watford that has them leading the way in goals scored. So, how does this start compare to his other roles in charge?

As Barcelona manager

Season Official games Wins Draws Losses
2008/09 62 42 13 7
2009/10 59 45 10 4
2010/11 62 45 11 6
2011/12 64 47 13 4

As Bayern Munich manager

Season Official games Wins Draws Losses
2013/14 51 40 5 6
2014/15 52 37 5 10
2015/16 53 42 6 5

As Manchester City manager

Season Official games Wins Draws Losses
2016/17 56 33 13 10
2017/18 57 46 4 7
2018/19 61 52 3 6
2019/20* 12 9 1 2

*In progress

It's clear from the table below that Pep's early win rate is far from his worst over a full campaign. The worst campaign was in 2017, his first in England, which we can clearly look back on as his bedding-in season. It's worth noting that last year's single-point winning margin over The Reds came with an 85.2% win rate, and that began with 20 points from their opening eight fixtures (the same as Chelsea and Liverpool).

Win rate per season (descending order)

Season Win rate (%)
2018/19 85,2%
2017/18 80,7%
2015/16 79,2%
2013/14 78,4%
2009/10 76,2%
2019/20 75%
2011/12 73,4%
2010/11 72,5%
2014/15 71,1%
2008/09 67,7%
2016/17 58,9%

The debate over any potential issues at Manchester City will continue on a weekly basis - the defensive unit receiving particular attention - because of the enormous power the club now weilds on an economic, sporting and institutional level. On the field Pep has had poorer runs of results than this, but if his main rivals for the Premier League title can maintain their form, he will know that another exceptional campaign is required to win a third consecutive crown.