English Premiership

Citizens rule Premier League

2017-11-26 05:58
SLIPPING PAST: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City scores in a Champions League match against Dutch side Feyenoord. (Laurence Griffiths, Getty Images)

Johannesburg - Manchester City are on fire and their record shows it in the Premier League – 11 wins in 12 matches and 40 goals to their name.

This proves Pep Guardiola has a unique approach that befits his record as a champion on multiple scales previously with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. With 21 titles in a 10-year period with the clubs, the evidence suggests the Citizens’ start to 2017/18 will lead to even more silverware for the Spaniard.

Ultimately, who in England could stop this seemingly invincible beginning?

Winning the league title

From the evidence, Manchester United are the closest contenders but, even there, there are concerns. The Red Devils are eight points behind already in the league and show continual fallibility under José Mourinho. In a sense, the Portuguese manager has shown diminishing returns in recent seasons, suggesting his aura of invincibility is declining.

United’s loss in the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday to minnows Basel indicates further signs of cracks appearing in the once-great Mourinho’s armour. Having been sacked just seven months after winning the league title with Chelsea, it perhaps suggests his powers are diminishing at the highest level.

With that said, the 54-year-old showed signs he could still cut it with the best with United in the following season when he guided them to a Europa League and League Cup double.

Mourinho, though, perhaps inhabited Guardiola’s shadow for far too long during their time at Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively. With such a dominant advantage in the league and a style of play that is clearly so ahead of his time, it’s fair to say it’s unclear if anyone can catch Guardiola’s Citizens.

Even defending champions Chelsea can’t quite be counted as contenders as they are nine points adrift in third spot. A spate of sales, which included Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, had some shaking their heads and has hardly helped the west London club’s cause.

Massive challenge

Reports have also emanated out of London that Antonio Conte is seemingly falling out of favour with Roman Abramovich, and it’s easy to understand why there may not be a genuine contender for the title with City. With Tottenham Hotspur in fourth struggling to live with the big spending of their foes at the top, it seems to underline the fact that it is City’s to lose. In addition, Liverpool are a dangerous attacking team, with Mohamed Salah grabbing 14 goals in 19 appearances, yet all too often they show extreme vulnerability in defence.

Arsenal don’t seem to be challengers any longer, with key players such as Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil nearing the end of their respective deals, and, with questions about Arsène Wenger’s future in the top flight continuing to be asked, that seems even more uncertain.

Therefore, it appears stopping City is a massive challenge and they are already well on their way to the finishing line. If United, Chelsea, Spurs or the Gunners were to stop them, it would be an outstanding achievement.

That said, there seems little evidence on the table at this point in time that City can be stopped. – TEAMtalk Media

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Saturday, 28 April 2018
Liverpool v Stoke City, Anfield 13:30
Crystal Palace v Leicester City, Selhurst Park 16:00
Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion, St. James' Park 16:00
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Huddersfield Town v Everton, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Burnley v Brighton & Hove Albion, Turf Moor 16:00
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