A match at West Brom might be a culture shock to Guardiola and a strong examination of a City defense that has kept only one clean sheet in the league. Pep Guardiola said one of his big challenges was to prove to himself and the world that his new team can play beautiful soccer no matter what time of year, no matter who the opposition.
Ready for the Premier League’s ultimate culture clash: Tony Pulis vs. Pep Guardiola. West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City.
Upon arriving at City this off season, Guardiola said one of his big challenges was to prove to himself. The 58-year-old Pulis is part of the furniture in the Premier League, a coach who has taken charge of more than 1,000 first-team games in England and has proved to be the closest thing to a guarantee against relegation after spells at Stoke, Crystal Palace and now West Brom.
A match at West Brom might be a culture shock to Guardiola and a strong examination of a City defense that has kept only one clean sheet in the league. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, in particular, appears vulnerable under the high ball, so West Brom surely will put pressure on the Chilean. That’s just what Guardiola is doing as he gets to grips with the relentless demands of the English soccer calendar, which is different to what he experienced at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“They are struggling at the moment, from what everybody tells me,” Pulis said sarcastically, referencing that City is still first in the Premier League after nine games. “They are top of the league, they only just got beat by Man United by playing their second team on Wednesday.
“They will play their first team against us definitely. It will be a tough game.”
But don’t expect Guardiola to adapt his usual game plan just because it’s West Brom.
The Spanish coach started with 10 straight victories at City but a League Cup loss to Manchester United on Wednesday took the team’s winless run to six games, the worst streak of Guardiola’s managerial career.
“That is why Manchester City called me (to be its coach), to try to play in the way I believe with the players that I have.”