Barcelona 2008/09 vs Man City 2022/23 - which Pep Guardiola treble team is better?

Pep Guardiola is the only manager to win the European Treble twice in football. It's time to compare which side was the best between them.

Abishek Goswami
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Treble | Barcelona 2008/09 vs Man City 2022/23 - which Pep Guardiola treble team is better? | Sportz Point

Manchester City completed the treble of Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup titles, matching Manchester United's feat in 1999 and drawing comparisons with Guardiola's 2008-09 Barcelona team. It took 14 years but Pep Guardiola finally replicate the success that he brought to Barcelona in 2009. Only eight other individuals have ever led their club to the European Treble. Guardiola is the first to accomplish the rare feat twice. But which was better?

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Team Strengths:

FC Barcelona | 2008-09

Guardiola's 2008-09 Barca had a squad including some of the best Spanish players of their generation. Defenders like Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, and midfielders like Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, and Andres Iniesta were the core of the national team who won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Although Yaya Toure played the most matches in place of Busquets

Brazilian full-back Dani Alves was a menace down the right channel, supplying one of the best strike forces in the history of club football, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, and Thierry Henry. Then there was Victor Valdes at the goal.

Manchester City | 2022-23

Manchester City have one of the greatest club squads ever assembled. The likes of forward Julian Alvarez, a starter for Argentina in last year's World Cup triumph, England midfielder Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez all struggle to nail down a first-team spot.

The addition of Erling Haaland gave Guardiola's City an additional boost. The 22-year-old Norwegian striker surpassed Mohamed Salah's record of 32 goals in a 38-game Premier League season and defeated Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, who managed 34 each when it was a 42-match competition.

Key Players:

Lionel Messi finished as Barcelona's top scorer in 2009 with 38 goals across all competitions despite starting from the right for much of the campaign. Samuel Eto'o (36) and Thierry Henry (24) completed the first-choice front three which combined for 100 goals that season.

Erling Haaland finished his debut campaign under Guardiola with a sickening 52 goals in 53 games but Julian Alvarez was the only other City player to score more than 15. Although the Norway star finished the campaign in the midst of his longest goal drought (five games). Ilkay Gundogan stepped up big time when City needed goals. City's out-of-contract skipper scored an unrivaled six goals from May onwards. He also scored a pair of volleys to win the FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Barcelona's captain Carles Puyol played in every position across the backline - starting the Champions League final at right-back - but was hampered by injury in the final months of the season. No player featured more than Xavi. He was Guardiola's most important player during the Treble campaign. He provided 31 assists that season.

Game Style:

Guardiola's Barca were well known for their unique possession game which dismantled the opponents with quick short passes, intelligent movement, and positional interchange in a style called "Tiki-Taka". One of the great tactical revolutions also helped Spain to dominate world football, helping win two European championships and a World Cup.

At City, Guardiola presented an evolution of "total football", creating a near-perfect fluid system in which almost no player remained in a fixed role, complemented by a relentless high press. City are flexible and can change systems when required. Last year, they won the Premier League without a center forward, and with Haaland, they have a battering ram up-front which allows them to adopt a more direct style.

Journey to the treble:

Team Champions League record League record Domestic cup record
Barcelona (08/09) W7 D5 L1 W27 D6 L5 W7 D2 L0
Man City (22/23) W8 D5 L0 W28 D5 L5 W6 D0 L0
Treble | Lionel Messi | Sportz Point

Image - Barça Worldwide

La Liga & Premier League title:

Guardiola's Barcelona side of 2008/09 held a brilliant league record compared but his City was different, especially after March. They delivered more emphatic results while claiming the first leg of their treble.

The Blaugrana not only routed struggling teams but thrashed them upside down. They defeated seven of the top eight clubs by at least a three-goal margin. Most impressively, Barcelona exerted their dominance on the road, infamously thumping Real Madrid 6-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Barca won the 2008-09 La Liga title with 87 points, nine more than Real Madrid, scored 105 goals, and finished the season with an unbeaten run of 22 matches. Messi, Eto'o, and Henry scored 100 goals in all competitions with the Argentine netting 38 and Eto'o finishing as La Liga's top scorer with 30 goals.

Conversely, Manchester City only registered one win against the Premier League's top nine away from home in 2022/23. A 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates could have easily swung either way. This year's Premier League title was Guardiola's fifth with City as they became only the second club to win it three years in a row and the fifth in the history of league football in England. They finished with 89 points, five more than Arsenal, and scored 94 goals.

Copa del Rey & FA Cup title:

Barcelona lifted the Copa del Rey trophy for the 25th time in their history with a 4–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the 2008-09 season while Manchester City won a 2-1 derby against Manchester United in the Final of the FA Cup to register their second trophies of the respective seasons.

UEFA Champions League:

Both Barcelona and City were not at their best in their respective Champions League finals. Sir Alex Ferguson mentioned that his Manchester United side "should have won that game" in Rome against Barcelona in 2009 while City relied upon Ederson's brilliance.

However, City's route to the final was far more convincing than Barcelona's. Guardiola's latest one dismantled RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich before producing one of the defining performances of the modern age, humiliating Real Madrid with a 4-0 thumping in the semi-final second leg.

Barcelona, by comparison, only squeaked into the 2009 showpiece on away goals courtesy of a last-minute equaliser from Andres Iniesta in the semi-final against Chelsea. And according to Didier Drogba, "It was a disgrace."

Treble | Manchester City | Sportz Point

Image - The Telegraph
Fc Barcelona Football Premier League La Liga Manchester City Pep Guardiola Erling Haaland Xavi Messi Lionel Messi Kevin De Bruyne Fa Cup Andres Iniesta Copa Del Rey