Man City vs Arsenal: would Pep be doing better if he'd taken over Arsenal?

By now it seems fair to say the Premier League initiation has been rougher than expected for Pep Guardiola. Manchester City trail Chelsea by seven points and recently won their first league game at home since September, with criticism of his flamboyant tactics widespread after the 4-2 debacle at Leicester. The Catalan always did say transforming City would be his biggest challenge so far, yet even he has admitted the adaptation has taken longer than first assumed. 

The matter is no doubt one of culture clashes, Guardiola testing his principles of positional play and passing out from the back in a fast and physical division. Few if any coaches have applied such methods so strictly in the Premier League. And yet his fate also depends on the suitability of his players to carry out his ideas. What came off for Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba at Bayern Munich has not quite done so for John Stones and Aleksandar Kolarov, and, given that Guardiola is unlikely ever to change his style, the compatibility between the squad he inherited and the ideals he is pursuing is surely key to any examination of his start in England.

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