Manchester City’s offensive phase deserves a detailed analysis, after 11 consecutive wins in the Premier League in which they have scored 33 goals and conceded only 7. After having played a total of 21 games, there is one team that leads the standings and have shown they are head and shoulders above the rest.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are once again reigning supreme in England, just as they did last season. City have surprised all their opponents through tactical versatility and dominant possession, the hallmark of Pep’s side’s identity.

For this reason, at the MBP School of Coaches, we have analyzed Guardiola’s team within their offensive phase, unravelling in each moment of the game their structures and game principles which help to achieve their objectives.

Colorido Geometrico Banner para Canvas 7 MANCHESTER CITY'S OFFENSIVE PHASE ANALYSIS MBP School of coaches

Tactical Analysis

Through the base GK-4-3-3 structure, City always form their dynamic organization in the different moments of the game with the same pattern: to organize themselves around the ball.

During the build-up, we can see how Guardiola organizes the positioning of his players depending on where the team aims to find the advantage.

Starting from a dynamic organization of GK-2-3-2-3, at the start of the season, we could see how the fullbacks moved towards the central channel, opening up a direct passing lane to the winger. In recent matches, however, both fullbacks have opened up more, looking to generate distances between lines to try to progress through central areas.

Manchester City Guardiola Analysis Fundamentals Offensive Phase

Manchester City Premier Legue Guardiola Analysis Fundamentals Offensive Phase

Regardless of the dynamic organization of Pep’s team, the principle of play is always the same: to mobilize the ball and play in depth to find the free man. Once they manage to settle in the moment of progression, the organization of the team takes on a greater variation. Unlike the previous moment where they were structured GK-2-3-2-3, the team moves to a GK-2-3-5, placing up to a total of 5 players in the last line.

Manchester City Premier Legue Guardiola Analysis Fundamentals

Based on this setup, City aim to build numerical superiority in the intervention zone (usually on the wings) in order to attract a large number of opposition players, to then play to teammates in the cooperation zone (furthest zone).

Manchester City Premier Legue Guardiola Analysis

Manchester City Premier Legue Guardiola Analysis Offensive Phase

For this, players like Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are vital. Both are responsible for moving between the different lines of the team, applying game fundamentals such as ‘directing the play towards advantageous spaces/switching the point of attack’, in order to successfully carry out the principle of play.


Finally, when City arrive to the finishing zone, there is less change of positioning compared to the previous moment.

When attacking the box, we have been able to identify two different principles depending on the opponent.

  1. When facing teams that place their defensive block 5-10 meters outside their own area, City will look to play through balls into the box while attacking the intraline intervals with 2nd line runners.

Manchester City Premier Legue Pep Guardiola Tactical Analysis Offensive Phase

  1. On the other hand, when facing very low defensive blocks and with a high volume of defenders near to the opponent’s goal, Pep’s team prioritizes attacking the area through crosses from zone A and B.


Manchester City Premier Legue Guardiola Tactical Analysis Offensive Phase De Bruyne Sterling Mahrez Bernardo Silva Side crosses

The inclusion of the aforementioned secondary principle within the game model is something new in contrast to previous seasons, where the percentage of crosses into the box has been significantly increased compared to the last couple of campaigns.



What initially looked like it would be one of the most hotly contested Premier League seasons in recent years is on its course to be claimed once again by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side. The Catalan coach has built a fearsome team that dominates the attacking phase, while always being able to innovate and surprise opponents through tactical flexibility.

At the MBP School of Coaches, we are excited to see how Guardiola’s team continue to improve in this important stretch of the season, as well as watching how the club close in on many of the competitions they are still in, during the 2nd phase of the season.

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