Just how good have Pep’s boys been?
Thursday, 22nd Mar 2018 10:48
With the lion’s share of the season now played and only a handful of games left until the Premier League trophy can be officially won, it seems that Manchester City will absolutely walk it this year, losing only one game the entire campaign with an unlucky slip up at Anfield.
With only 8 games left and a 16 point lead against rival Manchester United, City could well end up winning the title at the Etihad against United if they can beat one of Brighton and Everton and round out and unassailable lead. A guard of honour from United would the cherry on the top of an excellent season, and one which has seen some stunning individual and team performances.
The season started exceptionally well, with Guardiola shaking off a successful but not perfect season that saw them finish 3rd behind Chelsea and Tottenham. After a shaky 1-1 draw against Everton, one of only 3 draws that have taken place across the entire season, City racked up 20 goals in their next 5 Premier League games throughout August and September, including 5-0 wins over Liverpool and Crystal Palace, and a 6-0 win over Watford. These high scoring games were the first indication of just how dangerous Guardiola’s attack would be this season, with City scoring 4 goals or more in 9 league games. This prominence in front of goal isn’t just limited to the evergreen Sergio Aguero either. The Argentinian has managed an impressive 30 goals so far this season, but midfielders Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva scoring 20, 12, 11 and 9 goals respectively. This is absolutely unprecedented in the Premier League, and Chelsea’s record of 103 goals in a season during the 2009-10 campaign could well be broken if City continue to steam-roll teams that aren’t set up properly when it comes to defending.
The goals record isn’t the only record that could be broken either, with 6 wins needed to break the Premier League point record, also held by Chelsea.
The other end of the pitch is the other key reason why city have been so exceptional this year. With only 20 goals shipped in all league games, the City defence has obviously benefited from the summer’s big money signings, as well as performances from existing players that have been vastly improved compared to the last 2 campaigns. Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker have been the team’s best performing defenders statistically, and the return of Vincent Kompany from injury as well as the development of youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko who has looked very promising. With 15 clean sheets, it’s easy to see why City will be lifting the trophy early, with no other team managing such a strong defensive performance this year.
With the league all but won, Pep will be turning his attention to the massive Champion’s League fixture against Liverpool, City are just 7/2 to win the Champions League, only Barcelona are a shorter price. City hammered Liverpool at home, but couldn’t quite manage to win out at Anfield, with a tense 4-3 defeat still remaining as their only league defeat this season. The real quality of Pep’s team will show if they can progress past Liverpool and get one step closer to the final, the competition which matters most to both Guardiola, the team and the fans at thus stage.
Photo: Action Images
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