“They are playing some of the best football ever played in the history of the Premier League. I think we’re looking at another invincible team this season.”
BBC pundit Garth Crooks was just one of those who lavished praise on Manchester City this weekend after they brushed aside Leicester 2-0 to give them a 16th consecutive win and the joint-best start to a Premier League season.
Afterwards, Leicester boss Claude Puel called City “the best team in Europe”.
Pep Guardiola’s team have 34 points from their 12 games, matching their achievement at the start of the 2011-12 title-winning season under Roberto Mancini.
Martin Keown, a member of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ squad who went through the entire 2003-04 league season unbeaten, believes this City side could match the Gunners’ feat.
“I am happy to be part of that exclusive club that has gone a full season unbeaten. I hope they [City] don’t do it, but it is looking like they will,” the retired defender told Football Focus.
“I don’t see who is going to stop them. If they get complacent, maybe. But I think Guardiola is all over that one. He is picking up on mistakes in training. He will stop at nothing. He is a serial winner.”
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‘A series of players who are artists’
Keown is not only impressed by City’s ability to win games but the manner in which they are going about their victories.
“City are a series of players who are artists,” he said on Final Score. “They paint beautiful football for us each and every week, and in every game [Gabriel] Jesus or [Sergio] Aguero are on the end of it.
“You know the genius of Ronnie O’Sullivan in snooker, where he can choose which hand to play with? Kevin de Bruyne is like that with his feet.”
Crooks, Keown’s fellow Final Score pundit, was even more effusive about City’s style of play, adding his own belief that Guardiola’s side are set for an historic season.
“It is some of the best football ever played in the history of the Premier League,” he said.
“Think about it as the sort of thing you’ll play in five-a-side, except this is being executed at the top level. I’ve never quite seen anything like it.
“I think we’re looking at another invincible team this season. They have the ability to go all the way unbeaten.
“They have so much depth in the squad, they can cover in any position and I’ve not seen a team like this in a very long time.”
‘Man City are getting more and more dangerous’
On Saturday, Jesus gave them the lead from close range just before half-time from David Silva’s pass, after the Spaniard was sent through by Raheem Sterling’s disguised through ball.
After the break, Harry Maguire struck the post for Leicester via Fabian Delph’s deflection but De Bruyne’s thumping finish from Leroy Sane’s cut-back 22 seconds later put the game beyond the home side.
“City are getting more and more dangerous as they go forward. They are a joy to watch this season,” said former Tottenham boss David Pleat on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.
“They have more talented, technical players and there’s no disputing that. To go unbeaten this far in the season is quite remarkable from this group.”
What will happen if they continue at their current rate?
City’s current points-per-game average of 2.83 is 0.33 better than Chelsea’s (2.50) in 2004-05 when they won the League with 95 points.
In 2015, Chelsea had 32 points after 12 games, a tally beaten by the current league leaders.
If Man City continue to win points at an average of 2.83 per game, they are on track for 108 points.
|Most points in a Premier League season|
|Manchester City (projected)||2017-18||108||126|
The 100-point barrier has never been crossed before in the English top division.
If they continue to score goals at their current rate of 3.33 per game they will net 126 goals this campaign, 53 more than Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003-04.