From the look of things, it is safe to say that Manchester City will be making it three Premier League titles in four seasons this year.
Since the new year, it has been records after records for Pep Guardiola’s side with the bigget at a time turning out to be the record of having won every top-flight match they played in 2021 and setting a new mark in the process.
Since December, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal all tried but failed woefully in their attempt at stopping them with most of these clubs suffering a heavy defeat in the process.
Liverpool were reduced to nothing at Anfield via a 1-4 defeat to City while Chelsea lost 1-3 to the same side at the Bridge. Tottenham too received no mercy as they were annihilated by 3 goals to nothing in Manchester. Everton looked helpless in their 1-3 loss at home to the boys from the blue half of Manchester. What really are we waiting for? Pep Guardiola’s team at the moment are unplayable.
Manchester City sent the old EPL record to the cleaners with the outstanding 3-1 victory at Everton which saw them reach 10 straight wins to begin 2021 and further recorded victories against Arsenal and others to continue in their amazing run of form that has seen them open a double digit lead at the top. Only Newcastle United in 1995-96 and Manchester United in 1997-98 seasons failed to win the title after building a double-digit lead in the league.
“When you win a lot of games everyone wants to beat you and it is tricky,” Guardiola said. “I have not seen that the team is thinking of the table, we have not spoken about that. We are not here to defend our lead, it is all about three points, three points”, Pep Guardiola was quoted to have said at a recent press conference after breaking Arsenal’s record of consecutive wins in a new calendar year set as far back as 1999.
While it is not out of place to be modest, Pep Guardiola and his boys are more than sure of lifting the league trophy at the end of the season in a couple of months from now. This belief is further strengthened by the following indices:
The quality of players Guardiola has to choose from is just too ridiculous. Here are City’s two potential teams…
Cancelo Stones Dias Mendy
Gundogan Rodri De Bruyne
Foden Aguero Sterling Steffen
Walker Laporte Garcia Ake
Silva Fernandinho Zinchenko
Mahrez Jesus Torres
Since City last signed a striker – Gabriel Jesus for £28 million in January 2017 – they’ve spent over £350 million on eight defenders and around £250 million strengthening other areas. The beautiful problem for Guardiola has been Sergio Aguero: it’s difficult to sign a world-class striker when they know they are going to play – at best – second fiddle.
But they’ve felt the pain of their lack of options. After 15 games last season, Aguero had scored nine of City’s 43 Premier League goals. After minimal minutes against West Brom, Newcastle and Chelsea in recent weeks, the one time son in-law of Diego Maradona is back. What a time to welcome back the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in town.
We could easily claim that the Manchester City talisman – who is excellent but slightly less excellent than Bruno Fernandes – will drive his side to the title. But Kevin de Bruyne was at the top of his game last season and couldn’t get City over the line. One man who was there last season, but in spirit on the bench more than body on the pitch, could make all the difference if he is given the opportunity to do so.
Phil Foden started the first four Premier League games of the season. This was it. The New David Silva, whose playing style actually bears very little resemblance to David Silva, was finally being given a chance to be David Silva. But then he started just one of the next ten games while the actual David Silva led Real Sociedad on a six-game winning streak to take them to the top of La Liga in some sort of weird football voodoo. It looked like another false dawn for England’s great hope.
But then came Chelsea. He was magnificent in by far City’s best performance of the season. A brilliant assist and a wonderful deft touch for his goal were the highlights of an all-round display that showed the 20-year-old is arguably Guardiola’s most effective weapon in that more advanced position. Play him, Pep.
Remember when Man City lost the title last season because their one trustworthy center-back was injured? Fernandinho played at the heart of the defence.
Liverpool was better in almost all departments, but the juxtaposition of Aymeric Laporte being out and Virgil van Dijk bossing Liverpool to the title offered an easy explanation for those trying to pinpoint a reason for the gulf in points and performances. The reverse is now true. Jurgen Klopp’s side is playing midfielders in defence and City’s backline is so good that Laporte now watches from the sidelines.
The most miserly defence in the Premier League is instead made up of ever-present new signing Ruben Dias, who has been so good he’s barely been noticed, and – incredibly – that man Stones, who is now being noticed despite being written off by the fans and press.
Been there, done it
13 of City’s players have played a significant role in winning the Premier League title; Riyad Mahrez is the only one of that 13 not to win two titles with City. And he still has two Premier League titles. They just know what it takes.
Congratulations to Manchester City, better luck to the other teams next time.
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