Manchester City have achieved their first ever utterly convincing and dominating Premier League season, under Pep Guardiola. They have won the joint fastest EPL title – record set by Manchester United in 2000-2001 – and this time it didn’t involve favours, slip-ups and gifts from rivals as had happened with City’s previous two league titles, this century.
THAT Aguero moment
The 2011-12 League title was supposed to be Manchester United’s. The reds were coasting – Eight points ahead with six matches remaining – till they threw away 3-1 and 4-2 leads to Everton at home. Even after that, Roberto Mancini’s City were losing that domestic league title as late as on 94th min of final match day till THAT Aguero moment happened. It was by no means a convincing title win, despite the hysteria attached to the most thrilling finish line reach, that ever can be.
THAT Gerrard slip
In 2013-14, Liverpool were six points clear with three games to go while City had four games left. The reds seemed to coast till that Steven Gerrard ‘slip’ ended up becoming an unexpected Liverpool loss to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea; as Manuel Pellegrini’s City got a foot in the door. Liverpool drew their next game at Crystal Palace as the sky blues went on to clinch their fourth domestic (second Premier League) title on the final match day of the season. Thanks once again, to largesse offered by their rivals.
Guardiola winning is the new normal
Contrastingly, this season has been a scintillating and breathtaking supersonic jet ride. Records tumbling just like cycles in a bicycle stand (after the first one has tumbled). After Guardiola’s first season of settling in, getting the players who suit his style, drilling his idea of possession and position based football, his second season has seen no stopping. The Premier League title race has been turned to mockery. The new milestone for the chasing pack is now to beat ManCity and light up their own season. Liverpool’s stock price (if there was one) significantly upsurged after their three victories over Manchester City. Unless they go on to win the Champions League, their trophyless season will only be laced with those wins over Guardiola’s City.
That’s what happens with peak Guardiola teams. Jose Mourinho’s stock price permanently got a boost when his Inter Milan (in 2010) and then his Real Madrid (2012) were the only teams, aside from Chelsea (2012), to have stopped Guardiola’s Barcelona between 2008-2012. These few matches are discussed more now, than the majority (92%) Barcelona masterclass games. The Liverpool 4-3 and 5-1 will stay in headlines longer than Manchester City’s other results of this season. Simply put, Guardiola winning in style is the new normal. His team losing is the time for others to find their only spark of the season.
City have miles to go…
When City lost 3-4 to Liverpool at Anfield, it made more news for Man City’s failure to match Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ record. Though by then, ManCity had set records like – 18 matches unbeaten streak, 11 away matches winning record and a few more. So Pep and co must now focus to match/break five other EPL records to keep adding a halo around the season. They must set the platinum standards, the ‘untouchables’ level of what a season can possibly be. Here is the list of records they must strive to break:
- Highest points gathered in a season (95 – by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 2004//05). Man City now sit at 93 points with three games remaining and all their opponents are amongst the league’s bottom seven teams. This record will break soon but City must strive for a historic 100 points season.
- Highest wins in a season (30 – by Antonio Conte’s Chelsea 2016/17). Man City have 30 wins already and surely this record is going to get broken.
- Maximum goals scored in a season (103 – by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 2009/10). Man City have scored 102 goals so far and so they should be crushing this record this weekend.
- Largest goal difference in a season (71 – by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea 2009/10). Man City currently have a goal difference of 76 and very likely to maintain that. So this record is almost in place. Maybe it’s time to up the benchmark to 80 goals difference in the last three games.
- Points gap with second placed team in a season (18 – by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United 1999/2000). Man City are currently 16 points ahead of United but this record is dependant on the reds dropping points too. So this one is too tight to call.
The points and goals scored are the big stats. If City can reach 100 points and score 104 goals, it would lay benchmarks even City will struggle to emulate in future! It’s an amazing time to be a Cityzen, a fan of six sigma quality football.
(Updated 04 May 18)
Tributes from Pundits
Alan Shearer “Aside Leicester City, every EPL champion including Blackburn Rovers in 90s were amongst highest spenders. Guardiola has led from the front and is here to make City a powerhouse. City have a title and an identity. They won’t change their style, even if their tactic backfired as it happened twice recently .. they will play in style, entertain us and be around for a long time. The scariest thing for other managers is that Guardiola will improve the squad further in the summer.”
Tim Sherwood “Mendy was out the whole season, Kompany hardly kicked a ball first half and no top team would’ve brought Otamendi or Mangala. Guardiola would have won the Premier League title with any of these four squads – Chelsea, Man United, Tottenham or Liverpool. He is that good. He’s made a mockery of the league.”