Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Manchester City on Saturday evening. But this game is not just about two teams fighting over 3 points. It is the latest chapter in a tale of two of the best managers in the world, with a relatively long history. Any match between Mourinho and Guardiola will always matter because it usually has a direct impact on something tangible -- a title race, a cup tie or even a place on the table. The two coaches will meet for the 24th time on Saturday - Guardiola has won 10 times, Mourinho has won 7 times, and 6 games have ended in a draw.
Both managers operate with a completely different football ideology. Pep has his roots in the philosophy of Johan Cruff - passing the ball with fluidity and control that often frustrates the opposition even of the highest quality. Who can forget what he did in the Champions League Final to Sir Alex's Man United in 2011? Pep’s teams His teams play with authority and make great oppositions look ordinary. High pressing, winning the ball quickly, and tiki-taka. But Pep has always managed big clubs - Barca, Bayern and City with a lot of money in the bank. His Barcelona side was undoubtedly one of the greatest of all times winning everything on its way. His time at Bayern, though largely regarded as a success, missed the glory of UCL. Moreover, the thrashing received at the hands of Barca was unforgettable and embarrassing. In England, Pep’s first season was a spending spree, but ended in disappointment, as City finished 3rd in the league and won nothing. However, he has turned things around and won the league back-to-back, including setting a new record with the Centurions - 100 points.
The Special One is not the best in terms of style. As opposed to Pep, he normally prefers the opposition to have the ball, and he does well by punishing them when they are out of defensive shape. His philosophy is perhaps “don’t lose", “safety first", “defence over attack". Most teams managed by Mourinho rely on a well-drilled system of defending as a unit and then breaking off with sporadic counter-attacks. He won the Champions League with Porto, an average team that ordinarily may not even qualify from the group stages. The Special One won EPL when it was much more competitive against the likes of Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool. He won the Champions League again with Inter Milan, beating some of the best teams along the way. When he managed Real Madrid, the team scored the record goals in La liga. Mou may not be the best tactician presently, but he sure knows how to win titles across the top leagues in Europe.
Both managers have a good challenge on Saturday. Mourinho does not have the riches he had at Chelsea or Real Madrid or the historical power that comes with managing a club like Man United or Inter. Pep ‘imported’ cruyff tactics seem not to be working against premier league teams who have understood it and become tougher. But despite these, you can still expect something spectacular from the match.
1. Competitive with the Full-Backs running the length of the pitch
2. Pretty rough. The match is likely to have a red card on betBonanza
3. A loss of Man City will leave their hopes of the title down to luck.
4. A win for Mourinho could see Spurs go top of the table- A position he knows how to secure for a long time.
In 2004, when the Special One arrived as a new coaching superstar at Chelsea, he mocked Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson as managers with old tactics. Guardiola also did the same to Ferguson in the Champions League and Mourinho in Spain. Saturday’s match is the latest episode of the struggle of two men who have once experienced great success, trying to fight their way back to relevance at the top. Never before has there been so much doubt and insecurity between them on the touchline.