Erling Haaland fit at Man City might require a total shift in Pep Guardiola's tactics

Early last month, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola just came out and said it: "I love to overthink and create stupid tactics." But for a manager who often seems to be pushing himself to the precipice of madness by layering in new levels of complexity to a completely made-up game, his most recent major solution was simple. Even he admitted it.

After losing to Tottenham on Nov. 21, 2020, City were 13th in the Premier League. A season after coughing up the league to Liverpool, they looked hopeless without the ball and frustrated with it. But come early January of last year, they hadn't lost another game. They were on the verge of reeling in Liverpool and ultimately blowing past them and the rest of the league. What changed?

"The only difference is that we run less: we were running too much," Guardiola said. "Without the ball you have to run. But with the football you have to walk, or run much less: stay more in position and let the ball run, not you. That's improved in these games."

By slowing things down, City easily won the league last season and now only need a win against Aston Villa this Sunday to do it all again. They won the race, and they're winning the race -- by pumping the brakes. Then why spend €60 million to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, a striker who doesn't know slow?

If they want to keep winning the league and finally nab that elusive Champions League trophy, maybe it's time for Manchester City to pick up the pace.