Analysing the five seasons in which Pep Guardiola lost more than 4 league games

Manchester City’s Premier League season has seen Pep Guardiola break yet another personal record, though not one the Spaniard will have wanted following a career of almost continued success at some of Europe’s leading clubs.

City’s derby day defeat to Manchester United last weekend was the club’s seventh of the league season, the most ever recorded by a Guardiola side during his 12-year management career at the highest level.

We’ve decided to look back at some of Pep’s less successful campaigns, although, it must be said this is of course in comparison to his own outrageously high standards.

Here are the five seasons in which Guardiola has lost more than four league games:

2018/19 Premier League – 4 defeats

The Premier League champions would be defeated on four occasions last season – the fifth-highest total of any Guardiola side – though it would not be enough to prevent Man City securing back-to-back league titles as part of an unprecedented domestic treble in English football.

City’s first defeat would come after a 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, part of a run of three defeats in four fixtures over the festive period to put their title hopes in doubt.

The second of those defeats, a shock 3-2 reverse to Crystal Palace at the Etihad, will long be remembered for a stunning volley from Andros Townsend before Guardiola’s side succumbed to successive defeats at Leicester four days later.

Newcastle would be the fourth and final conquerors of Guardiola’s side in late January, though a run of 14 consecutive victories to end the season saw City finish a point ahead of runners-up Liverpool, their 98 points the second-highest ever tally in Premier League history.

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2008/09 La Liga – 5 defeats

Guardiola’s first season in management at Barcelona would prove to be a spectacular one, recovering from a shock opening day La Liga defeat to Numancia to deliver the first treble in Spanish football history.

Having regrouped from that loss, the Catalan side would embark on a 22-game unbeaten run before back-to-back defeats to city rivals Espanyol and Atletico Madrid in late February and early March.

Another unbeaten run – including seven successive victories – would be followed by back-to-back defeats once more, though reverses to Mallorca and Osasuna mattered little as Guardiola had already claimed the first domestic title of his career, a famous 6-2 victory at Real Madrid all but assuring the title two weeks earlier.

Despite suffering the equal-third most league defeats of his career and most as Barcelona boss, that 2008/09 team is widely considered amongst the greatest club sides of all-time, adding the Champions League and Copa Del Rey to their La Liga title.

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2014/15 Bundesliga – 5 defeats

Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side would suffer five defeats during the 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign – the third most the Spaniard has ever recorded – though the numbers must be looked at in detail to gain the full story.

The German giants would begin the season with a 17-game unbeaten run, heading into the winter break top of the division and without a single defeat to their impressive league record.

Wolfsburg – who would finish the season as runners-up – became the first side to beat the Bavarians in the first fixture back from the mid-season break, Kevin De Bruyne scoring twice against his future Manchester City manager in a shock 4-1 victory.

Bayern would suffer just one more defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach in late March before securing the title the following month, their further three defeats coming in succession to Bayer Leverkusen, Augsburg and Freiburg with their status as champions already assured.

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2016/17 Premier League – 6 defeats

Manchester City would be Guardiola’s port of call after several seasons of success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and he would quickly discover the difficulties of English football during a mixed debut season at the Etihad.

Despite a bright start that saw six consecutive wins City would slump to a third-placed finish, 15 points adrift of champions Chelsea after suffering six Premier League defeats.

Guardiola’s first defeat in England’s top flight would come away at Tottenham in October, before back-to-back defeats to Chelsea and Leicester in early December – the latter loss seeing Jamie Vardy help himself to a hat-trick on a chastening evening at the King Power Stadium.

City would also lose on both visits to Merseyside to face Liverpool and Everton – the latter an embarrassing 4-0 defeat – before Chelsea completed a double over Guardiola’s side at Stamford Bridge, Eden Hazard scoring twice for the west London side.

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2019/20 Premier League – 7 defeats*

Seven defeats already this season for Guardiola and City, the champions having put up a meagre defence of the title they won so convincingly in each of the past two seasons.

The Etihad side’s defensive frailties were first exposed during a stunning 3-2 upset defeat to newly-promoted Norwich in September before Adama Traore ran riot to secure Wolves a 2-0 away victory in Manchester in October.

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Wolves are one of two teams – alongside Manchester United – to secure a league double over Guardiola’s side this season, with City also suffering defeats on the road at champions-elect Liverpool and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.

Guardiola’s seven defeats this season are the most he has ever recorded in a single campaign, City’s indifferent form leaving the club 25 points adrift of leaders Liverpool and their tally could yet further be added to with ten fixtures remaining of the campaign.

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