With the chance to secure the Premier League title against arch-enemies Manchester United, it could not be any more delightful for Manchester City fans right now.
Following their latest display of footballing artistry against Everton, Pep Guardiola’s side continues to amaze pundits and fans alike as they somehow find a way to get even better with each passing week.
A final possession figure of 82.13% is the highest by any away side since data became available in the Premier League, a sign the wheels are not decelerating anytime soon.
Given such mesmerising feats of achievement, it is by no means easy to pinpoint five games from their remarkable season as signposts of their success. Considering the side have won 27 of their 31 games, there are plenty of options to choose from. Nonetheless, there are still highlights from what has been a season of sustained magnificence.
1. Manchester City 5 Liverpool 0, September 9 2017
The first major statement of intent from City arrived four games into the campaign after a last-gasp Raheem Sterling winner at Bournemouth had followed an underwhelming 1-1 draw at home to Everton.
For the first time this season, City stepped up the gears as they dismantled a Liverpool side who arrived at The Etihad with plenty of confidence after beating Arsenal 4-0 in their previous fixture.
Sadio Mane’s 37th-minute red card undoubtedly helped Guardiola’s team register such a comprehensive scoreline, yet it was still a message that City meant business as they moved to the top of the table following the win.
City were already a goal up when Mane was dismissed thanks to the ever-reliable Sergio Aguero. Two goals apiece for Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane ensured Liverpool suffered their biggest ever loss under Jurgen Klopp in all competitions, while also ending their unbeaten start to the season as City ran riot.
2. Manchester City 7 Stoke 2, October 14 2017
Thrashings of Watford and Crystal Palace as 11 goals were scored without reply could so easily have been on this list. So could a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge following a stunning Kevin De Bruyne winner in which the away side dominated possession.
For sheer attacking exuberance though, the 7-2 win over a struggling Stoke side was simply a joy to watch as six different City players were on the scoresheet. Two goals in two minutes from Jesus and Sterling with less than 20 minutes on the clock set the tone for a ruthless performance from the Champions-elect.
City’s performance was epitomised by De Bruyne’s sumptuously majestic through-ball which was pinpoint accurate for Sane to make it 6-2.
While allowing Stoke back to 3-2 in the first-half was a slight blotch on the win, City’s attacking play easily overshadowed it.
3. Manchester City 2 Southampton 1, November 29 2017
This showed City had another string to their bow: the ability to win ugly. Against a dogged Southampton side, Guardiola’s side were not at their swashbuckling best. Southampton had presentable chances to score before Virgil Van Dijk headed De Bruyne’s whipped free-kick into his own net just after half-time. Not pretty, but it did the job.
However, when the away side silenced The Etihad with a 75th-minute equaliser from Oriol Romeu, it looked as though City’s opportunity to break a club record of 11 victories in a row was punctured.
Raheem Sterling had other ideas. After an 84th minute winner at Huddersfield in the previous game, the Englishman conjured up something special to clinch City victory once again. With the last kick of the game, Sterling cut inside before curling into the top corner from the edge of the box. A special goal from a player progressing enormously under Pep’s watch.
Cue pandemonium as Guardiola and the coaching staff ran onto the pitch, unable to hide their ecstasy. City had not been at their best, but they continued to find a way of collecting all three points. Winning was becoming an obsession. Anything less would not sit well with them.
4. Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2, December 10 2017
Winning in your arch-enemy and local rival’s back garden is sweet enough. Stretching the lead at the top to ten points after winning at your rival’s expense is as good as it gets.
With the Premier League season not even into the New Year, it was widely accepted that City were going to be Champions of England. If Jose Mourinho’s side had won, there would have been some glimmers of doubt. But City’s win that afternoon was never in doubt.
After City made it 14 consecutive victories (a top-flight record), with goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi, the blue ribbons were already being measured for the Premier League title.
5. Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3
Four days after beating Arsenal 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final, City produced a moment of déjà vu as they outclassed The Gunners once again in the league.
Just over half an hour of the game had been played, and The Citizens were already out of sight as their attacking magicians showcased more flair, speed and skill to devastating effect.
For all the criticisms of Arsene Wenger, his side are still a very good team with some high calibre players on their books. Yet, City were clinically ruthless in brushing them aside as they cantered to the league title; moving 16 points clear at the top. To humiliate Arsenal not once, but twice in a week was a barometer of how special this Manchester City team really is.
There is a certain element of subjectivity in pinpointing City’s greatest moments this season because there have been so many occasions where they have amazed onlookers. Bouncing back from their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool with a routine 3-1 win over Newcastle at The Etihad was a case in point as normal service resumed. Many a time we have seen opposition sides crumble in the face of a City onslaught.
While some may dispute some of the selections here, we can all agree that we are witnessing one of the greatest sides ever to grace the English domestic game. Pep Guardiola has undoubtedly left his mark on the Premier League.