Manchester City: The Rightful Champions-Elect

Manchester City: The Rightful Champions-Elect

Eleven Premier League games unbeaten, 38 goals scored in all competitions, eight points clear at the top of the table and unbeaten in their Champions League group.

It’s not been a bad start for Manchester City in 2017-18.

Pep Guardiola was criticised last season after Man City failed to bring home any silverware but after the start his side have made this year, he has received nothing but praise. And rightly so.

City are the most exciting team in the Premier League currently and at no point have they looked under threat – holding a dominant lead over rivals Manchester United at the top of the table.

In fact, none of the big clubs have caused any problems whatsoever and it wasn’t until Wolverhampton Wanderers travelled to the Etihad in the Carabao Cup that City finally had some concerns.

The Championship side took them to penalties on a cold and wet night in Manchester but even then, City never looked in doubt of picking up a victory as they eventually won 4-1 in the shootout.

Guardiola’s footballing philosophy is finally paying off in England – and it’s still working in Europe. City have scored 12 goals with only three in reply from Napoli and are set to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League as leaders of their group.

Napoli, Feyenoord and Shakhtar Donestk are no easy opposition but City swept them aside like they have done against most teams in England.

It’s their fast-flowing, high intensity counter-attacking football which has caused problems and it’s easy to see why given the names that are on City’s team-sheet.

20-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Jesus has been the entire player City had hoped he would be when they signed him for £27m last summer. He’s already scored seven goals in 10 league appearances and has a goal-minute ratio better than Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku yet he isn’t even guaranteed a place in the starting XI!

That’s because his strike partner – Sergio Aguero – is now the club’s all time leading goalscorer after he broke the record against Napoli earlier this month.

Those two players alone would be enough to scare off opponents but City have further firepower in attack with pace coming from the wide positions in the forms of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.

Sterling and Sane have been involved in 28 goals between them already this season but the real architectural work is happening behind them on the pitch.

Kevin De Bruyne has been the best player in the Premier League so far this season.

He’s like a magician with the ball at his feet; the way he curls it into the paths of his teammates and strokes it across the field so it stops dead at the boots of Sergio Aguero.

Three goals, nine assists this season, as well as two Man of the Match performances against Arsenal and Chelsea from the Belgian.

While it’s all flowing in attack, it’s not been too bad in defence either! Granted, City don’t usually have too much to do but all you have to do is look at the potential bursting from their back four.

John Stones looks like a completely different player this season. Under pressure and under-performing in 2016-17, the young Englishman is finally looking like the composed centre-back his £50m price-tag brands.

Alongside Nicolas Otamendi, the defensive pairing have been able to command their back line and distribute the ball well when in possession.

As if two ball-playing centre-backs aren’t helpful enough, City also have two of the most consistent full-backs in the country.

And they are English.

Fabian Delph, a formerly rejected midfielder now playing at left-back and Kyle Walker, the £53m summer signing from Spurs.

Both have produced near perfect performances throughout the season and have added further attacking threat, while maintaining steal and guile in defence.

Everything has been perfect for Man City it seems, with the only major blow being Benjamin Mendy’s long-term injury just a few weeks into his Blues’ career.

He had arguably been one of City’s best players but without him they look equally as perfect.

All you have to do is look at the players on City’s bench for their most recent Premier League victory over Arsenal to understand the strength in depth at Guardiola’s disposal.

Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Yaya Toure and Jesus couldn’t even make the starting XI. Against Arsenal! That’s something.

City are still yet to play Manchester United or Tottenham but comfortable victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool suggest when they travel to Old Trafford on December 10th, they can inflict similar damage.

As it stands, there is no other team more capable of winning the Premier League.

Record-breakers – The stats which show City’s dominance

  • Man City’s 31 points and +31 goal difference is the best start to a Premier League season ever after just 11 games.
  • Their tally of 52 goals is a record for a Premier League club after 17 games in all competitions.
  • Sergio Aguero has been involved in 10 goals in his last five Premier League games (seven goals, three assists.)
  • Gabriel Jesus’ rate of a goal every 89.6 minutes is the best record of any player to score more than 10 goals in the Premier League.