When Pep Guardiola was announced as the next manager of Manchester City, while Manuel Pellegrini was still in charge, there was a vast amount of giddiness going around the country.
Hailed as one of the best managers in the world, it was a bold statement from the club, who had been pursuing Guardiola ever since they appointed Director of Football Txiki Begiristain.
The reputation was enormous and one that would eventually burden the former Barcelona manager. He came to England full of promise, excitement and hope. City were encountering a new era with a world-class manager guiding the ship.
With just under one month left of Guardiola’s first season in charge, his new club will end up with no trophies and potentially not even Champions League qualification.
A season that would be lambasted as appalling if Pellegrini had committed such crimes.
After being knocked out in the FA Cup semi-final to a flailing Arsenal team, Guardiola has never faced scrutiny and pressure as he will do now.
For the first time in his career, in which he has had superstars in abundance, there are questions being asked.
The biggest query of all that City fans should have is whether he can actually build upon the clear talent that is in his ranks? It is all well and good winning titles with the likes of Messi, but can he do it with players who are less consistent performers?
Now, there is absolutely no chance that Guardiola would ever be sacked on the back of this season. Not given the extent to which City chased the Spanish manager and made it public in doing so.
The former Bayern Munich manager’s first decision that raised eyebrows was the public execution of Joe Hart’s survival in the first-team. Within a few weeks, the England goalkeeper was shipped off to Italian side Torino and that was that. Ruthless.
Ruthlessness is an important trait to have in a manager, but that has to be backed up and enforced by making the right decision. Bringing in Claudio Bravo, the former Barcelona goal-stopper, was clearly, in hindsight, a very, very bad call.
It has been obvious how poor the Chilean has been in goal for City, highlighted by one of his first performances for the club against Manchester United.
Bravo came out of his six-yard area to try and meet a cross, completely missed the ball and made a total mess of it to allow Zlatan Ibrahimović to score as the ball fell into his path.
The erratic nature of Bravo’s goalkeeping is completely the opposite of what Guardiola envisaged when recruiting him. The City boss wanted a ball-playing goalkeeper, like Manuel Neuer, who can join in and launch attacks.
That has wholeheartedly failed and Hart would have done a better job than Bravo this season. There is no doubt about that.
In the last few months, City’s grip on the top two has slipped drastically and they are now not as assured as they used to be in qualifying for the Champions League.
While dear rivals Manchester United could end up winning three trophies and securing Champions League qualification, Guardiola’s team will end up with a maximum of the latter.
This is the first season in Guardiola’s managerial career in which he has not won a trophy. A quite alarming and incredible statistic.
José Mourinho’s been under a lot of pressure and scrutiny throughout the season, but winning three trophies – albeit one is the Community Shield – and achieving his main objective is a very successful campaign. The same cannot be said for Guardiola.
Surprisingly, there hasn’t been much pressure on the shoulders of the Spaniard. Perhaps this is because it is his first season and he’s building for the future.
However, that sounds awfully similar to what the Portuguese boss is doing across town without the microscope zoomed right in, judging his every move.
The phenomenon, the messiah and the legend has not revolutionised English football like fans claimed he would. For now, he looks lost and slightly bewildered by the task he has to undertake.