Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-0 despite the away side (Guardiola’s Bayern Munich) having more than seventy percent of the possession. And worse, most of that position was inside Arsenal’s half but Bayern Munich, without the services of the talisman Arjen Robben could not break down Arsenal’s ten man defensive wall quickly enough to score a goal at the Emirates.
It really is embarrassing for an away side to have over 600 passes in a single game and not score a goal despite the fact that Arsenal’s (who are usually so proficient at racking up their own passing numbers) tally on successful passes made was hovering around 140.

So why am I interested in what happened at the emirates last night? Yes. It is because of Guardiola. Who has been a bit of a braggadocio since he left Barcelona, boasting about his achievements with, according to him and a couple of other guys like Guillem Balague and Graham Hunter, the greatest club side the world has ever seen, Barcelona.
Here is why I think that Guardiola was just born right and had little to do with the silverware Barcelona won between 2008 and 2012.

  1. Has he done anything unique at Bayern Munich?

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    Bayern Munich’s Spanish headcoach Pep Guardiola addresses a press conference on the football Audi Cup in Munich, southern Germany, on August 3, 2015. The Audi Cup football matches with Bayern Munich of Germany, Real Madrid of Spain, AC Milan of Italy and Tottenham Hotspur of England will take place in Munich on August 4 and August 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE

    The answer is a simple no. Bayern Munich have been routing towards BundesLiga titles for years now. There is not a team in BundesLiga that even comes close to holding a candle to Bayern Munich.
    If English Premier League people think that La Liga is competitive, let them watch BundesLiga and they’ll definitely come to know what a real one horse race looks like.
    Even with that advantage, what has Guardiola done with Bayern Munich?
    Yes, he has won league titles but that was already happening under Heynckes as well, so questions should be raised about Guardiola’s output since he claims to be the most successful coach in history as he hasn’t once failed to get to the semifinals of the Champions League with all the teams he has coached (namely the two best sides in the world Barcelona and Bayern Munich).
    Guardiola is basically a guy who managed one of the greatest teams in football’s history when it was about to peak. It peaked and got immensely lucky, which resulted in lots of titles. Namely two Champions League and three league titles.

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    Bayern Munich’s Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola reacts during the German Telkom Cup 2015 football match FC Augsburg vs FC Bayern Munich in Moenchengladbach, western Germany on July 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZDFL

    If he was anywhere near as good as he claims to be, then he would have done something special with this Bayern Munich side which, by no means, is behind Barcelona in terms of pure talent on the pitch.
    And what has he achieved with such a great side Heynckes left for him? A drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid in his first season in the Champions League, then another humiliation at the hands of Barcelona and now a defeat vs Arsenal after playing his usual ‘tiki-taka’ play.

    Arsenal FC v FC Bayern Munchen - UEFA Champions League

    LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: Josep Guardiola manager of Bayern Munich looks thoughtful prior to the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal FC and FC Bayern Munchen at Emirates Stadium on October 20, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.


    Compare that with someone like Mourinho or Alex Ferguson, who won major titles without ever having the best players on the planet. Mourinho won Champions League with Porto and was extremely unlucky to not win at least two more titles with Chelsea and Real Madrid.
    Alex Ferguson also reached the finals and semifinals of the Champions League (with one win when Ronaldo was in charge at Manchester United in 2008) with a Manchester United side that was far away from being the best club side in the world.

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    Bayern Munich’s Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola gestures during a friendly football match between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in Shanghai on July 21, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE

    If you look at Guardiola’s numbers, they are not all that amazing. I mean, those numbers are excellent but the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pellegrini, Ancelotti have put up similar numbers without ever getting the recognition Guardiola got with his Barcelona that had a number of fortuitous moments in big matches which eventually lead to their title triumphs.
    Going head to head, Mourinho’s Real Madrid side from 2010 to 2013 was almost as great as Guardiola’s Barcelona side of 2008-2012 but without all benevolence of destiny and some propitious refereeing decisions.
    Guardiola’s winning percentage with his so called ‘golden Barcelona’ was 72.4% while Mourinho’s Real Madrid had a winning percentage of 71.91% during the same period.
    Just rounding off the numbers, make Real Madrid and Barcelona equal in terms of dominance on the pitch in a period which Barcelona claims to be its best.
    Infact, if we can just put the controversial results of:

    1. Barcelona’s away game at Chelsea which was hampered with allegations of match fixing because the referee failed to give at least four clear cut penalties
    2. Inter Milan’s match at Camp Nou where Thiago Motta was sent off early in the game for no obvious reason and Chelsea had to play the rest of the game with ten men.
    3. The two legs against Real Madrid where at Bernabeu Pepe was sent off for a non-existent foul on Daniel Alves which resulted in the game opening up for Messi to exploit and the return leg where a perfectly legal goal from Higuain was disallowed

away for a moment then, Guardiola’s win percentage comes down to about 70.
So on what basis do experts like Graham Hunter rank Barcelona as perhaps the greatest club side ever, should be beyond anyone who has the least sense of justice and luck.  

  1. Give the 2008 Barcelona to anyone and he would win you titles.

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    Bayern Munich’s Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola attends a training session in Shanghai on July 19, 2015 two days before a friendly football match between Germany’s Bayern Munich and Italy’s Inter Milan. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE


    Guardiola, even if we ignore the role played by the referee in his successes, wasn’t that special at all.
    Case studies of Luis Enrique and Tito Vilanova, should prove beyond doubt that whatever silverware that came towards Barcelona, was because of it’s players and not because of its managers.
    Enrique’s win percentage so far as been hovering around 80% and Tito Vilanova’s win percentage in La Liga was better in his maiden season with Barcelona, than Guardiola’s in his first season.
    If we talk about Real Madrid for a moment that Ancelotti’s winning percentage was closer to 75% in his tenure at Real Madrid and Pellegrini’s was close to 75% in La Liga in his only season at the Bernabeu.

    FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN MUNICH-HAMBURG

    Bayern Munich’s Spanish headcoach Pep Guardiola reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Hamburger SV at the Allianz Arena in Munich, southern Germany, on August 14, 2015. The match is the first of the 2015/2016 season. Bayern Munich won the match 5-0. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE

    To me all these statistics show that whoever would have coached Barcelona in the period 2008-2012 would have probably won the same number of titles neglecting the influences of the referees on game outcomes.
    If coaches who haven’t had a single professional season as a manager can outperform Guardiola with almost the same side then it says more about Guardiola’s limits as a manager than the good work done by the likes of Enrique and Vilanova at Barcelona.

  2. At the end of it all, It was all Messi and his ten dwarfs .

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    Bayern Munich’s coach Spanish Josep Guardiola looks on during a training session at the Karaiskaki stadium in Athens on September 15, 2015, on the eve of the Champions League group F football match Bayern Munich versus Olympiakos. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS

    Guardiola might have burned all the midnight oil Barcelona could afford to come up with game plans against difficult teams to get reasonable results but I am sure, the presence of the likes of:

    1. Messi
    2. Xavi
    3. Iniesta
    4. Daniel Alves
    5. Puyol
    6. Pique
    7. Abidal
    8. David Villa

didn’t hurt either.
If the successes of Vilanova and Enrique has taught viewers anything, it is that Barcelona is the only club that is less reliant on it’s manager than it is on its star power.
Real Madrid have had similar star power but those big name players brought bigger egos with them in the dressing room which adversely affected their chemistry on the pitch and their passion to fight for the white shirt.

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Bayern Munich’s Spanish headcoach Pep Guardiola wipes attends the last team training ahead of the football Champions League Group F match between FC Bayern Munich and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at the club ground area in Munich, southern Germany, on September 28, 2015. Bayern Munich will play against GNK Dinamo Zagreb on September 29, 2015 in the stadium in Munich. AFP PHOTO / Christof Stache

Whereas at Barcelona, most of these world class players inexplicably submitted their desire of individual glory,records and individual improvement (that comes only when a player is allowed to fully express himself on the pitch,) in favor of Lionel Messi’s.
Obviously, this action of theirs paid off as Messi was able to fully assert himself on the pitch knowing that he was answerable to no one and had to accommodate no one in under his shadow.
Consequently, his brilliance along with some selfies with referees did bring home a host of silverware that put Real Madrid, for the first time in their history, out of limelight in Spain as far as the tag of premier club was concerned
It was this decision of Barcelona management, that delivered them the goods rather than Guardiola’s brilliance as a manager.

 

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Bayern Munich’s Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola reacts as he holds a ball that went out of play during the UEFA Champions League football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in London, on October 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL

Conclusion

Guardiola may yet prove a lot of people wrong and win something huge with Bayern Munich but if the last two seasons are anything to go by, Guardiola doesn’t belong in the big league with the likes of Mourinho and Ferguson