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Josh Barker: Second treble will cement Pep Guardiola as Premier League’s greatest-ever manager


Manchester City beat Newcastle in the FA Cup quarter-final this past weekend, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to reach the semi-finals in six consecutive seasons.

After seeing off Newcastle, Manchester City have managed to keep their hopes of retaining their treble alive.

City, of course, became only the second side in Premier League history to complete the proper treble after Manchester United in the 1998/99 season.

But should Man City go on and do so again this term, it will surely cement Pep Guardiola as the greatest-ever manager in the league’s history.

At present, most neutral fans can agree that Sir Alex Ferguson holds the title of the best Premier League manager.

However, there are a few reasons why Pep Guardiola could take that crown if City go on and win the treble again.

Firstly, the Spaniard would be the first manager in the Premier League to win two trebles, while doing it in back-to-back seasons would make it even more impressive.

Secondly, if Man City win the league this term, Guardiola would be the first manager to win four PL titles in a row – he currently holds the joint-record with three alongside SAF.

He would also have three FA Cup victories under his belt - only two less than Ferguson - and perhaps most importantly, Pep would have the same number of Champions Leagues as the Scotsman in a much shorter period.

Furthermore, during his nine-year stint in Manchester, Pep has won four League Cups (the same as SAF managed in 27 years with Manchester United.)

The former FC Barcelona man also holds countless Premier League records, including most points in a single season (100) and being the first manager in the history of the competition to win the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in the same campaign.

The only area in which Pep Guardiola is not expected to outdo Sir Alex in is Premier League titles won. The Scotsman holds the record with 13, while Pep could secure his sixth this season.

But it is worth pointing out that Manchester United’s highest points total in a title-winning campaign is 92 from 1993/94, while Pep has won the league with 100, 98, 86, 93 and 89 points respectively.

The impact of Pep Guardiola on English football cannot be understated either, with high-possession play and inverted full-backs now the norm for most teams in the Premier League.

Admittedly, if City fail to win anything in 2023/24 – which seems unlikely – then it is harder to make the case for Pep Guardiola being the Premier League’s greatest manager. But when speaking after the aforementioned win over Newcastle, Pep seemed fairly confident in his side’s ability to enjoy even more success this term.

“Always we expect the best for the team, but after we won the treble, five titles, we are coming back for last international break,” he said “One month, two months left to be in contention for all the titles means a lot. Defines what is the team.

“People talk about the Premier League and Champions League, but when you are able to win four Carabao Cups in a row, six FA Cup semi-finals in a row, this club has something special. It’s incredible. Of course we want to win all the FA Cups, all of them, but sometimes is not possible, basically for the quality of the opponents and the schedule we have.

“I remember against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, playing away on Wednesday in the Champions League quarter-final and then Saturday at Wembley. It’s so difficult to arrive against these top teams in the best condition. It’s so difficult but we are there. Six times in a row - always you have a bad night home or away, but when you do six you don’t have bad nights.”

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.