After yet another win for Man City on Sunday, having narrowly seen of Huddersfield, can Pep Guardiola’s men emulate Arsenal’s 2003/04 winning side and go a whole season unbeaten?
The league leaders on Sunday equalled a club record – Set in 2015 – by winning a 11th successive Premier League game. However it wasn’t as easy as it sounds because despite winning, they trailed Huddersfield at half-time. A freak late winner from the on-form Raheem Sterling managed to bring all three points back to Manchester and therefore City are now 8 points clear at the helm.
With the Premier League season 13 games in, Man City are unbeaten having won 12 and drawn 1. They have scored 42 goals, which is a goal to game ratio of 3.2 and this season as well they have drastically improved in their defensive department, only conceding 8 goals.
So of course Manchester City have made a superb start to the season but what makes me think that they can keep it up all season and not even lose a game?
I’ve come up with 3 reasons as to why I believe Manchester City are good enough to mirror Arsenal’s 2003/04 campaign and become the 2nd ever Premier League team not to lose a single game during the season.
Reason 1: Pep Guardiola
Simply put, Guardiola is without a doubt one of the best football managers in the world. The way he has transformed Manchester City, how they play and how much certain players have improved is undoubtedly because of the Spaniard.
This season in particular, City are taking over the crown of the most ‘beautiful football’ as well as winning at the same time. Yesterday’s win at Huddersfield was by no-means their greatest performance but increasingly, teams are struggling at the home of The Terriers. City managed to come from behind at half-time and win the game, something they haven’t managed away from home since April 1995. Pep can take credit for that result partly as he clearly got a response from his players at half-time as just a minute after restarting from half-time, City bagged a penalty and their always reliable Sergio Aguero made no mistake.
Tactically, Guardiola thrives. Most noticeably this season, the former Barca boss outdone last seasons champions Chelsea and Antonio Conte. Away from home City continued their high-pressing attacking football which was a brave move but one that paid off indefinitely.
Reason 2: Defensive improvements
Over the summer, Manchester City spent a total of over £220m, with the majority spend on a new set of defenders. Last season, City struggled with ageing defenders such as Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy. Now though they have been replaced with a pace injection. Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo were all brought in as full backs and they have made a huge difference to the outlook of City’s team, particularly Kyle Walker.
The pace and power of the Englishman has proven to be a big influence in how Man City play. Walker plays as a wing-back, bombing up and down the wing all game long. So far in his league campaign, the ex-Tottenham man has provided 4 assists for his teammates, contributing nicely to the massive amount of goals the Citizens have scored already this season.
Having already been a City player last season, John Stones has come on leaps and bounds to improve his game this season. It was a horrible first season in Manchester for the young Englishman as he failed to live up to his £50m price tag and made several mistakes during the games he played in. However this season it’s as if he is a new player completely. The confident, ball-playing centre-back is running the back line and his improvements in every aspect of the game has ensured Man City look a lot sturdier in defence.
After last year’s goalkeeping nightmare, Manchester City went and spent £33m on Brazilian keeper Ederson. Claudio Bravo was easily considered one of the biggest flops of the season last year and City were keen to amend that, and they certainly have with Ederson. The 24-year-old is the latest sweeper keeper and even though he has made a few mistakes thus far, Ederson has been saving points for Man City.
Reason 3: Attacking prowess
Manchester are not only the best team in England currently but they would be a force against any side in the world right now. Years of progression have meant that City have now gone from Champions League regulars to Champions League contenders. All of this amazing progression is obviously boosted by the clubs attacking players and wow what talent they have.
To name a few, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have already made their presence known to the Premier League and everyone knows these four in particular are a force to be reckoned with.
Starting with the man who almost has his hands on the PFA player of the year trophy in November – Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian was brought into The Etihad after being sold by Chelsea in 2014. After taking the Bundesliga and Wolfsburg by storm for one season, that was enough to earn the 26-year-old a £50m move back to the Premier League. Since his arrival back into the English league, all doubters have been completely silenced, mainly with the help of his performances this season. In his 13 league games De Bruyne has featured in, he has managed 3 goals and 6 assists for his teammates. Firstly his goals are by no means tap-ins, they are each at least 20 yard belters, with the best coming against his former team Chelsea. The vision of the Belgian playmaker is simply sublime and without a doubt, his performances this season have cemented his place as one of the best players in the league and if not the world.
Next up, Sergio Aguero. The prolific City forward has this season broke the teams all time goal-scorer record when he scored against Napoli in the Champions League to take his tally to 178 goals since being at Manchester City since 2011. Although his name is on the record, this season has been troubling for the Argentinian so far with the rise of striking partner Gabriel Jesus. Despite scoring 9 goals in his 9 Premier League games, Aguero has found a few times this season that he has sat on the bench. In contrast, Jesus, one of the best upcoming strikers in football has been rewarded with more game time. The Brazilian has played 12 out of the 13 Premier League games City have featured in and in those games has 8 goals to his name. If Pep Guardiola could find a way to incorporate them both on the pitch at the same time, we could be talking about one of the deadliest strike-force in the world of football.
Accompanying an array of attacking talent is the reformed Raheem Sterling. The ex-Liverpool man has completely changed his game and as well as electrifying pace, he has added goals to his game. In fact, last season in 33 Premier League games, Sterling managed 7 goals. However this season already, he has 8 league goals in just 11 games.
These are just four names that Manchester City have at their disposal, not to mention other attacking boosts such as Leroy Sane, David Silva and Bernardo Silva who have a combined 8 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League this season.
Can Manchester City really go unbeaten for the whole season?
The festive period will be the real test for the high-flyers. In short succession, City will face Man United and Tottenham, with both of the latter teams also competing for the title. If they can overcome both their title challengers, who is to stop them on their way to the Premier League trophy? Based on the scary-good form City currently seem themselves in, will they emulate what Arsenal have only managed and go a whole league season unbeaten?
Tweet me @JournoDanB or @gbarticles to discuss your thoughts on Manchester City and whether you think they could do it.