How Would Pep Do With Yeovil Town?
Despite winning an unprecedented domestic treble with Manchester City, you get the impression Pep Guardiola feels that he sometimes doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
Every time he wins something, the comments are the same; “How would he do though with a team without unlimited cash?”
It’s a fair question considering he’s managed Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City. And it’s one that’s unlikely to be answered in real life. So we put him in charge of Yeovil Town on Football Manager 2019 to see what magic he could work with the team who just finished the season at the bottom of the Football League.
Here’s what happened…
City wasted no time in announcing Pep’s replacement, naming Alan Curbishley as their new manager. Hold on, naming Massimiliano Allegri as their new manager. Not a bad shout, considering the Italian has just announced his decision to leave Juventus.
It was an inauspicious start for Pep with The Glovers, slumping to a 2-1 defeat at Bury on the opening day of the League 2 season. Without £50m to spend on four different defenders, the Spaniard had to make do with several free transfers, with Matthew Worthington from Bournemouth scoring on his debut in front of 134 travelling Yeovil fans.
His first home game at Huish Park saw the first win of his reign, as two first-half goals see off Mansfield and lift his side to 10th in the nascent League 2 table.
A penalty shoot-out defeat to Coventry City marks Pep’s first Carabao Cup defeat since October 2016, while Man City got off to a winning start in the Premier League at home to Palace.
Maybe this Spanish guy is a genius after all? With 23 games played, Yeovil had reached the dizzying heights of seventh in the League 2 table – just four points off table-toppers Bury. Heady stuff for a team tipped by the media to finish second bottom of the table. Pep’s 4-1-4-1 formation had worked wonders too, resulting in the second best defensive record at the halfway stage. Who needs Ederson when you’ve got 20-year-old keeper Nathan Baxter on loan from Chelsea?
A 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers just after Christmas saw Yeovil hit third spot in the table and it looked like promotion was within their grasp.
After wins in the first and second rounds against Dartford and Macclesfield, an FA Cup third round clash with West Brom was a diversion from Yeovil’s promotion battle. They were so close to pulling off an upset at The Hawthorns, earning a lucrative replay back at Huish Park.
However, goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle in the replay meant that Pep had to put all his eggs in the League 2 basket.
This cup exit hit them hard. They picked up just five points from their next seven games and any thoughts of an escape to League 1 became a distant memory. Yeovil won just four games between New Year and the end of the season, finishing the season in 14th.
Pep ended the season without any silverwear, not even a Manager of the Month trinket to adorn his mantelpiece. Even Paul Scholes got one, lasting slightly longer at Oldham than he did in real life and winning the league with The Latics in the process.
And Manchester City? Well it looks like they didn’t even need Pep anyway. Allegri guided them to the Premier League title in his maiden season in English football, with Liverpool five points behind. They also won the Carabao Cup, Community Shield and finished runners-up in the FA Cup.
Oh, and he managed something Pep could never do – a first Champions League trophy for City.
So, what does the future hold? It seemed Pep’s stay in South Somerset would be a short one as he was already having misgivings blaming the club’s finances for his performance…