It’s fair to say that ever since Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City in 2016, opposing clubs and managers have found it particularly difficult to get the better of him, the club having won three Premier League titles in his five seasons in charge.
Their latest title triumph was wrapped in midweek following second-placed Manchester United’s defeat to Leicester City, the Red Devils having been largely distant title ‘challengers’ for much of the second half of the campaign.
With Man City now undoubtedly the division’s dominant force, it’s some achievement just getting the better of them in a one-off game, let alone across an enitre season.
Here’s a look then at the five club’s who have picked up the most Premier League wins against the former Barcelona boss:
Leicester – 3 wins
The Foxes have perhaps produced some of the most eye-catching victories over Guardiola’s City side, starting with a sensational 4-2 victory back in December 2016.
The then champions had made a difficult opening to the campaign under Claudio Ranieri, yet produced a blistering start to the game, netting three times inside 20 minutes, before Jamie Vardy added his third of the match – and Leicester’s fourth – late on.
While the visitors grabbed two late consolations, the result ensured a first defeat away to the Foxes for the first time since 1988, while it was an early indication of the defensive weakness that were so apparent in Guardiola’s early reign.
Leicester would then have to wait just over two years to inflict another defeat on the Manchester club, recording a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium following a stunning late Ricardo Pereira strike, in what was one of just four league defeats en route to the title for City.
Although both those triumphs were impressive, none were quite so shocking as Brendan Rodgers side’s thrilling 5-2 win at the Etihad at the start of the season, the visitors netting three penalties and Vardy once again netting a hat-trick, as City made a stuttering start to the campaign.
That game is far cry from the current City side, who have managed to cut out the defensive lapses of judgement that were so prevalent in the early stages of the season, particularly on that torrid afternoon against the Foxes.
Liverpool – 3 wins
In what’s been a fairly dominant last few seasons for City, the only side who’ve really managed to keep pace and eventually better them in the title race is Liverpool, the Reds having been their closest contenders prior to this season’s disappointment.
The first Premier League meeting between Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola – the two men having previously gone toe-to-toe in the Bundesliga – saw the German come out on top at Anfield in December 2016, the hosts netting the only goal of the game early on through a fine Gini Wijnaldum header.
With City inflicting a thumping 5-0 victory the following season, the Reds got their revenge the year after, running out 4-3 winners in a thoroughly entertaining encounter at Anfield.
With the scores 1-1 at the interval, the hosts produced a breathtaking nine minute spell after the break to lead 4-1 on 68 minutes, Mo Salah netting a sensational long-range effort, before City ensured a dramatic finish with two late goals and a late Aguero missed header.
While that result did little to prevent City romping to a superb, 100-point title win, Klopp’s men would also go on to produce two fine victories over their rivals in the Champions League later that season.
Liverpool’s third and most recent league triumph over City came en route to their relentless title win last season, as they shrugged off their ‘closest’ competitors with an excellent 3-1 home win.
Tottenham – 3 wins
It’s been a difficult few seasons for Spurs after the highs of reaching the Champions League final two years ago, with the gap between themselves and City appearing to only be getting wider.
That fall from grace appears stark when you consider that the North London club actually finished above City in Guardiola’s maiden top-flight campaign, with Spurs enjoying the feat of being the first team to beat the former Bayern Munich boss in the Premier League.
After having won six games on the bounce at the start of the 2016/17 campaign, City’s winning run was brought to a halt by Mauricio Pochettino’s side, as an Aleksandar Kolarov own goal and a Dele Alli finish gave the home side a deserved victory.
That win would prove to be the Argentine’s only league triumph over his counterpart, albeit having got the better of him in the Champions League, with the club’s next win coming under Jose Mourinho in February 2020.
The Portuguese serial winner put on a typical Mourinho masterclass to better his former La Liga rival, as goals from Steven Bergwijn and Heung-min Son gave Spurs victory in an ill-tempered affair that saw Ilkay Gundogan miss a penalty and Oleksandr Zinchenko sent off.
The former Manchester United boss then made it back-to-back wins over Guardiola at the start of the current campaign, clinching a 2-0 victory in a typically resilient display that took Spurs to the top of the table. How things can change.
Manchester United – 4 wins
It’s been a hugely difficult period for the Red Devils, having to watch their ‘Noisy Neighbours’ enjoying a spell of real domestic dominance, while they’ve also now finished below their city rivals in every season post-Sir Alex Ferguson.
Despite that dismal record, the two sides have been fairly evenly matched when they’ve met since Guardiola’s arrival, albeit with United’s first win over the former Spain international not coming until April 2018, under Jose Mourinho.
City were preparing to begin title celebrations, knowing that a win over United at the Etihad would confirm their status as champions. They got off to the perfect start, Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan netting midway through the first-half to put them in the driving seat, before missing a host of chances that would ultimately prove costly. The visitors completed a remarkable second-half comeback after the interval thanks to a brace from Paul Pogba and a late Chris Smalling winner.
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 7, 2020
After City claimed the double in 2018/19, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ side exacted revenge last term, producing a relentless, counter-attacking first-half display to clinch a 2-1 win, once again at the home of their bitter rivals.
The Red Devils then secured a double of their own later that season, as goals from Anthony Martial and a late Scott Mctominay stunner gave the home side a deserved victory, in what proved to the last game with a full Old Trafford crowd prior to the ongoing pandemic.
Club legend Solskjaer then continued his fine Manchester derby record in the current campaign, guiding his side to another 2-0 win back in March, with a Bruno Fernandes spot-kick and an excellent Luke Shaw strike earning all three points.
Chelsea – 5 wins
Guardiola’s greatest club nemesis, however, is in fact Chelsea, the London club having come out on top on five occasions since 2016.
The Blues made taking on the legendary manager look his easy in his first season in charge, as Antonio Conte led his side to a double over City on their way to an excellent and fairly dominant title triumph.
After coming from behind to win 3-1 in December 2016 – a month that saw Guardiola lose to three of the sides on this list – Conte’s men then grabbed the points at Stamford Bridge, as Eden Hazard’s brace ensured a 2-1 win.
With the Italian departing at the end of the following season, in came compatriot Maurizio Sarri, the former Napoli boss seeing his side pick up an impressive 2-0 win over City, before suffering an absolute mauling in a 6-0 thrashing in the reverse fixture.
Sarri’s successor, Frank Lampard, also managed to claim victory in the fixture following the delayed restart to the season last term – a result that crowned Liverpool’s status as champions – before current boss Thomas Tuchel guided his side to the club’s fifth win over Guardiola at the weekend.
That 2-1 win – courtesy of a stoppage-time Marcos Alonso effort – came after the German had also led his side to victory in a drab FA Cup semi-final clash with City last month, while the two sides prepare to do battle once again at the end of May in the Champions League final in Porto.