Written by By James Schneider, CNN
“And if we win against Chelsea, we’ll be good for the title,” smiled Pep Guardiola at half-time, following Manchester City’s comprehensive victory against Brighton in the early kickoff on Wednesday.
The City manager was perhaps concerned that with a full-strength side, he might be in for an anxious finale against Chelsea on Sunday. But with his players firing on all cylinders — particularly in the second half — this looked like a confident side full of potential.
Guardiola’s name has popped up in a couple of recent articles in Esquire as “the coolest manager” in the game. “I don’t know who he is,” responded Phil Foden, one of City’s forwards. “He’s just a crazy person,” co-edled a journalist, suggesting that Foden believed the City manager’s bizarre front-office behaviour was the reason for his comparatively low profile.
For better or worse, Foden — born to a City player — certainly came into the first game of Guardiola’s tenure with a back story that made for an entertaining early-season story. To begin with, he failed to make City’s 2016-17 squad. City thought they could be secure the services of the 18-year-old’s Manchester United academy friend, Marcus Rashford, but ended up losing out. Foden wrote in The Times at the time: “It was hard at the start. I had a blank page and I was losing too much of my friends on the phone. It was tough.