One life, one game, one team, one invincibles

One life, one game, one team, one Invincibles (So far)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Arsenal Pep Talk

Well we all know Pep Guardiola to be a brilliant coach. So should he at any point be seeking a challenge away from Spain then Arsenal would certainly appear to be the type of club to allow Guardiola to build a team that expresses itself in a manner to which Gooners have become accustomed. But how good is he and what has he done? Clearly he is not 100% perfect because he purchased Hleb amongst some of his weaker buys. Whether or not he could operate as a manager outside of Catalonia might also be another matter to consider. I'm certainly not saying he couldn't, but his experience to date has not been the broadest that a footballer and coach might have encountered. He's not entirely a one-club man but he's not very far off it.

Pep joined Barca in 1983 and was with the youths until he graduated and established a regular place in the first team aged just 20 winning La Ligue and European Cup under Cruyff. After 263 appearances in a Barca career which was not without injury problems he left Barca aged 30 and moved on to Italy in 2001 playing 71 games for Brescia and Roma where he also served a four month ban for testing positive to Nandrolone. His playing time in Italy seemingly included just 28 league matches and wasn't the happiest of times.

In 2003 he moved on to Qatar with the mighty Al-Alhia (Who?) and stayed till the 2005-6 season. Is it a coincidence that Qatar now sponsor Barca - I somehow doubt it. There was then a brief 6 months football in Mexico before retiring. By 2007 he was back in his beloved Catalonia coaching Barcelona B and it was not that long before he stepped up to the first team to replace Frank Rijkaard for the start of the 2008-9 season. The rest is history, but just how much of that history is down to the fact that most club teams tend to do quite well when they have the best player in the world playing for them? I put it to you that the worlds best teams are often been built around the worlds best players. Now I'm not saying he couldn't cut the mustard elsewhere but would he? Could he build a side without a Messi and could he handle the rigours of a league such as the Premiership in England where every game feels like a war zone. Sometimes twice a week.

Looking at his stats he has thus far spent 28 years in football. 23 of which have been with Barca. The rest have been in the over thirties semi retirement homes of Italy, Qatar and Mexico. The only thing those countries have in common is plenty of heat so its rather difficult to imagine him and his lovely tan at London Colney on a frosty February morning. Buts stranger things have happened. Like a French economics graduate arriving via Japan.

Brian @Gooner48

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