It’s hard to make a comparison with previous teams or generations, but Man City are a beautiful champion. For me the most important thing is the way they have played. Guardiola has a philosophy on the pitch – he has tried to put a soul into this team, with a different style of play to previous years.
It’s not all about the 100 points – it’s what he has achieved since the first season. For the second campaign, something changed in the players’ minds and they all agreed to follow their manager. Most of them have improved; some of them became genuinely top players.
This team isn’t about individuals. The biggest victory for Pep Guardiola is not the 32 wins, but how they have done it. People look at the numbers, but I’m focused on what he has done to get them. He has a vision and instilled it in the team. Now they all play the way he wants, with the same style and the same rhythm.
You could perhaps expect more from Manchester United’s players. But don’t forget that last season they won two trophies. Now, they’ve qualified for the Champions League and could win another trophy as well. Mourinho is still the same manager – every season he wins a trophy.
You could argue that Man United have been – most of the time – boring to watch, but they are efficient. You could argue as well that the relationship between the manager and some of the players has been difficult. Possibly, this type of relationship has had an effect on several players. But some of them must also understand that when you wear the United shirt, you need to do more on the pitch.
There are still some points on which the club can improve before next season. I will watch the transfer window with interest. Some players are going to leave, some will come in, but I believe that next year United will be stronger and better placed to compete against City.
It may be hard for Gooners to hear this from a former player, but if you love football you have to admit that Pochettino is doing a great job at Tottenham. The new stadium is coming, and they have a good team with great young players. There is a bright future in front of them.
There is only one thing they are missing: a trophy.
They need to win one. When I look at the team over the past three years, they keep improving on the pitch, but they need something to show for it. If they keep making the same sacrifices without winning, they will become frustrated. Perhaps they already feel that way. So if the same thing happens next year, it will very very difficult for the players to take.
With the addition of a few new signings, they will get better again. I’m excited to see how they go next year.
For a while, Liverpool were in the shadow of other clubs, in Europe as well as in the Premier League. The fact they are playing in the Champions League final is very important, but that they have managed to secure the automatic qualification spot is equally vital. That shows they have character.
I’m a big fan. Liverpool, Tottenham and City brought me so much emotion this season, and it was a pleasure to watch them all. But when I see the way Liverpool play, with such motivation and determination, I wish I was a player again. I would have loved to have been directed by Jurgen Klopp. I can feel him. I’m very close to that type of manager.
He has a lot of passion. He’s very close to his players, but can be tough as well. He trusts them, and gives them responsibility, but in return he expects them to give 100% and to be honest. If you aren’t honest with him, he can turn against you immediately.
I’m very disappointed with Chelsea. At the end of the match on Sunday, I wondered to myself, ‘did they really fight to win that game?’ There was a small chance for them to qualify for the Champions League, but that’s a chance that should be fought for. Against Newcastle, they looked like a team playing a pre-season game. When I see the players’ behaviour, it reminds me of so many of their other performances.
They deserve to be where they are. They’ve lost so many easy points at home, and the previous two matchdays encapsulate their season – they beat a close rival, then the following game they drop points against Huddersfield at home. How can this be?
Conte has had so much trouble in the dressing room, with players like Diego Costa and David Luiz. These guys were top players when Chelsea were winning, then all of a sudden they are out of the team. The dressing room’s reaction to losing has been bad, and there have been consequences on the pitch.
Firstly, we must say thank you to Arsène for what he has achieved for Arsenal and the Premier League over the past 22 years. But it was time to go.
I know it was not his decision, but the shareholders did the right thing. We needed a change – a new pitch, a new vision. The new manager needs to follow in Arsène’s footsteps in relation to the way the team’s style – one-touch movements, passing football – but also to improve its standards.
The problem with this team is not scoring goals – it’s the defence. The most difficult task for the next coach will be to improve that backline, but also the side’s mentality. They don’t know how to defend. They are really poor in that regard.
If you look at their home record, it’s one of the best. The away record is one of the worst.
When you go away from home, the atmosphere is different. You suffer pressure from the home fans, but also from the referee, so you need to hold your nerves constantly, to keep your emotions in check. When you play at home, you feel as if you have 12 men.
To be successful on the road, you need to develop the mentality to approach the game the same way as if you were at home. Arsenal need to get that back.