A Football Manager simulation to find out what would happen if Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola swapped jobs had some surprising results.
While there is no indication that Guardiola wants to manage a club under the direction of Ed Woodward, or that Mourinho is wanted by the oil-funded globe-straddling footballing behemoth, it it nonetheless offers up some answers, for those who think the game offers hints to the real life world.
City of course now have the players Guardiola wished in order to perfect his possession-based approach to the game, whereas United have Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marouane Fellaini.
In Football London’s simulation, Guardiola starts the brightest, with 24 points from the first 27, while Mourinho takes City to fourth place.
The first meeting between the two ends in a 3-0 win for United courtesy of goals from Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and Anthony Martial, who is currently on Mourinho’s naughty step in real life. A League Cup reservefest ends with a United 1-0 victory.
Things change up in January when Woodward allows Guardiola to spend, signing Jose Gimenez, Matthijs de Ligt (two central defenders finally arrive, then) and Spartak Moscow’s Quincy Promes.
Mourinho also reinforces his defence courtesy of Ryan Bertrand and Real Madrid’s Nacho. The changes work out best for Mourinho, whose side beat United thanks to Sergio Aguero in the 89th minute.
United and City next meet up in the Champions League quarter-final, and a nervy first leg sees Martial score again to seal a 1-0 win, and City eventually appear to break down United with a penalty from Aguero earned two minutes from the end of normal time, only to see David de Gea to come to the rescue.
With the Premier League title still up for grabs and Liverpool in the race too, City and United meet yet again in the FA Cup semi-final. Martial, far happier under Guardiola in virtual reality, scores twice, to send them through.
The league ends with a United victory when City lose 4-3 in a dramatic tie against Liverpool, and true to form Mourinho fails to attend a press conference. United eventually take the title with an eight-point gap over Liverpool, and 10 over Mourinho’s City.
Guardiola continues his success with a FA Cup final win over Arsenal, but fail to defeat PSG in the Champions League final, where they lose 5-4 on penalties.