Defending the Premier League title is by no means an easy task. Just ask the likes of Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti, and Antonio Conte who were each axed within a year of lifting England’s most coveted trophy.
In fact, up until this weekend, only two managers had successfully mounted a successful Premier League title defence: Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. Pep Guardiola has now joined this prestigious party.
The Spaniard’s first season at Manchester City ended with no silverware but within a year his philosophy had been comprehensively guzzled down by the Citizens players who rewarded their manager with a domestic double, after they romped to the title in record-breaking fashion, and lifted the League Cup.
City lifted the League Cup once again in February after edging out Chelsea on penalties. Then, after being pushed all the way by Liverpool in a rivetingly high-quality title race, Guardiola became the first Premier League manager in a decade to retain the top-flight title.
So, now the double is once again secured, what about the domestic treble?
The Holy Trinity of the Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup has never been achieved. Not in the Premier League era, or even in the 30 years prior to that after the League Cup’s inauguration in 1961. None of the famous Liverpool or Manchester United sides achieved this stunning feat, but Guardiola’s City juggernaut are now on the cusp of English immortality.
An unprecedented treble would stamp the 2018/19 Manchester City side in the record books as one of the greatest English club sides ever. It’s also worth noting that the Mancunians won the Community Shield at the start of the season - a trophy they can retain in August.
For Guardiola, his bulging trophy cabinet would boast a gargantuan 27 trophies; won in just 10 seasons for three clubs - he enjoyed a sabbatical in 2012/13. In eight of those 10 seasons he’s won the league title, and in his very first campaign in senior management he led Barcelona to the Champions League, La Liga, and Copa del Rey treble.
Should the domestic treble be won next weekend - City face Watford in the FA Cup final - Guardiola’s next task will be elevating the club to summit of European football.