Manchester City: Pep Guardiola ‘the difference maker’ – but is this his best team yet?

Pep Guardiola was described as “the difference maker” after leading Manchester City to a third successive Premier League title – and two games from achieving a historic Treble.

City, English champions in five of the past six seasons, will next month face Manchester United in the FA Cup final before bidding for a first Champions League success against Inter Milan.

It begs the question, is this the Spaniard’s best City team yet? You can have your say at the bottom of the page.

“Guardiola has made this the best Manchester City team ever. It is outstanding,” former Manchester City defender Micah Richards told Sky Sports.

“Pep is always one step ahead. His first season he came third, then he evolved how they wanted to play. He always makes something different and that’s what sets him apart.

“It is extraordinary. Everyone said Pep couldn’t bring the Barcelona style to the Premier League. He has made everyone look stupid. He is a genius.

“There is just that one cloud – and the Champions League would be the icing on the cake.”

City’s title triumph came despite trailing Arsenal by eight points as recently as 7 April.

But a 12-game winning streak saw them overhaul the Gunners with three games to spare and Sunday’s 1-0 win over Chelsea moved them seven points clear at the top.

“Manchester City are an absolute machine, it’s terrifying,” former City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley said.

“Getting them to maintain that form over the season is amazing and getting them to peak at just the right time is amazing.”

Former Manchester United player Roy Keane said: “You never get sick of winning. Titles are not easy. They make it look easy, but they have the hunger and desire to keep winning.”

He added: “You saw the player’s reactions. It looks like it is their first league title. Pep has always had the best players but it is the hunger.

“I think he is a huge difference maker, he is the man you want in charge.”

Pep Guardiola

In all, it is Guardiola’s 11th league title in 14 seasons as a manager at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Only Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson had previously managed to win three successive English titles, although it is the third occasion that Guardiola has managed to win three league titles in a row – having also done so in La Liga from 2009-11 and in the Bundesliga from 2014-16.

Once the celebrations are over, City’s immediate challenge is to attempt to emulate derby rivals United’s 1998-99 Treble.

“It would be a major disappointment if the Treble doesn’t happen now. Anything can happen but I can’t see anything other than a Treble,” ex-Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp said.

“Pep is doing things we haven’t seen before. He is doing things we thought impossible. If you like watching football, you just like watching Man City.”

Manchester United will have the chance to prevent City matching that feat on 3 June at Wembley.

“United want the opportunity to take away the Treble,” said Gary Neville, part of United’s Treble-winning side.

“I like this Pep team more than I have liked the others. It is imperfect. They are more powerful, physically stronger and dominant. It is the team I would least like to play against.

“Only the greatest managers have done this type of thing. The suggestion any manager could do this is an absolute nonsense.

“Guardiola is the difference. It is exceptional what he has achieved in the game. What City are doing is because of him.”

With a possible Treble in their sights, do you think this is Guardiola’s best City XI yet? Pick your best team below.

Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

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