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Manchester City were often looked at as a club which relies only on their financial prowess to succeed, without honing or cultivating talent. Even when they won the Premier League title a few years back, most people attributed it to the fact that they have a rich owner, and can hence they can ‘purchase’ talent. And yet, all those people have been proven wrong by this new-look Manchester City team under the leadership of Pep Guardiola.
Where other clubs are scrambling to hold on to their best stars, City has been the home to the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Fernandinho and Kevin de Bruyne for years now. They work together brilliantly and are playing a brand of football that money simply cannot buy.
No team has ever held such a commanding lead after 11 games in the Premier League. Their margin over second-placed Manchester United is now 8 points following Sunday’s results, which saw City defeat Arsenal 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium shortly before United lost 1-0 against Chelsea.
Having said that, their lead is certainly vulnerable but even if City do stumble, they seem to have built up enough cushion to enable them to bounce back. Also, do any of the Premier League teams really look strong enough to beat Guardiola’s men? Most certainly not.
In fact, Guardiola’s squad is so strong that injuries to key players cannot trigger for any loss of form. Captain Vincent Kompany has now been sidelined for almost two months with a calf injury, but City have not missed their best and most experienced defender. Benjamin Mendy gave City the defensive reliability and an attacking edge during his 5 games in the team and his cruciate ligament injury seemed like a major blow. Yet, Guardiola has re-invented Fabian Delph as a left-back and the team continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Even when it comes to the attack, Aguero was briefly out of action because of the rib injury he sustained in a car crash, but once again, City shrugged off the setback and continued to win while also scoring goals. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool or even Tottenham Hotspur.
Maybe if Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were both sidelined at the same time, it could hamper City’s chances. But the club score goals from so many areas of the pitch that even the loss of their two recognised strikers may not make them stumble.
With home and away games to come against United and Tottenham, plus trips to Liverpool and Arsenal, there is still plenty of scope for City to lose in the Premier League, but it will take a very good team to beat them. Thus, it seems increasingly likely that they can seal a title victory by the end of December.
City visit Leicester and Huddersfield, and host Southampton and West Ham, before facing Jose Mourinho’s men, who have tricky trips to Watford and Arsenal before the Manchester derby. So, before they meet their closest rivals, the current 8-point gap could grow further.