Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

Blue sky against red passion in the Premier

Azul cielo contra rojo pasión en la Premier

The world of football looks at the Premier. With six games to go, two teams are fighting side by side to take over the English league. The issue would not particularly call attention if it were not for the profile of the contenders. As in good films, the protagonists are antagonistic, which exponentially multiplies the emotion and sense of the show. Manchester City against Liverpool; Pep Guardiola against Jürgen Klopp; symphonic music against heavy metal; width versus verticality; blue sky against red passion.

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The perfect duel

It is a rivalry beneficial for football: from an open look you can enjoy with both models

There is a particularity in this dichotomy. There are no good and bad. Seen from afar, it is a beautiful, strictly sporting rivalry. Especially when it comes to coaches. Its game manual does not look like anything but in both cases it can be attractive from an open look. And it is presided over by fair play. José Mourinho already exerted as a monstrous anti-Guardiola, yes, but it contaminated the playing field and its surroundings (physical and environmental) with exhibitions of bad losing and bad winning. And his football, beyond excite his unconditional, almost always moved by the motto the end justifies the means, never moved the sensitive palates. It is obvious that Guardiola's proposal is the most harmonious and the most aesthetic, guided as it is by almost geometric parameters, the so-called positional game. But who has not fallen under the power of seduction of Liverpool and its commitment to vertiginous football, also of undoubted plasticity when practiced in the unmistakable style of Klopp?

Firmino and Mo Salah celebrated the goal in a big way

Firmino and Mo Salah celebrated the goal in a big way
(Peter Powell / EFE)

There is an undoubted aspect. If there are two influential and recognizable coaches through their work, that is, through their teams, those are Guardiola and Klopp. Actually, that is what it means to be a coach, in communion between bench and grass. The symbiosis

The play

Guardiola and Klopp are charismatic and privileged: their teams play as they want

Let's say, for example, two recent matches. On Saturday the City visited the Craven Cottage, the coquettish and hundred-year-old stadium of Fulham, and won 0-2 without hardly disheveled. It is true that the opponent is with one foot in second, but the cities deployed the expected football: long, high-speed possessions, studied distribution of the players on the pitch so that the lines are always together, the opponent's wear, that can only run, and advanced and coordinated pressure to force the error and take advantage of it in the opposite field, close to the goal. In fact, that's how the two goals came, by Bernardo Silva and Agüero. They are usually City points victories, with key players like De Bruyne, the galvanizer of the offensive game, or Sané, an increasingly polished diamond. Guardiola always tries to get the ball played from the goal, as you know (and applaud) in Barcelona, ​​but before the high pressure, lately like Valverde: take a long but studied, nothing to raffle.

Let's go to the other party. Liverpool-Tottenham last Sunday. The reds were what they want to be in the first part. Pointy sides (Robertson is a dagger on the left) and attacks of a brutal intensity, in which the mobility of Firmino, Salah and Mané (what football player) disarm anyone. In the second part they took refuge in their field and came out on the counterattack. They have fewer records than City and they had a hard time winning at the last minute. In front, yes, they had a man team, Tottenham de Pochettino. Taking a look at the story, the duel is much more unequal. Liverpool is a big man from England. It has 18 leagues, only surpassed by Manchester United, which owns 20. Despite the fact that its owners are North Americans, the club still distils tradition, as opposed to a City more identified with the rich clubs of a new style, in its case thanks to the masters of the Arab Emirates.

The City, which throughout its history has won 5 leagues (1937, 1968, 2012, 2014 and 2018), is a leader with a point of advantage. The calendar seems more favorable to the Reds, whose worst rival in the end is Chelsea, in Anfield, while the City will have to deal with Tottenham, opponent in the Champions League, and, attention, United in Old Trafford.

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