The first meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City did not disappoint as Liverpool came away with a 3-1 win at Anfield in a high-octane and controversial clash.
Since a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United at the end of January, Manchester City have won a staggering 15 EPL games in a row, including their opener to the 2019-20 campaign last weekend, cantering to a 5-0 win at West Ham.
Could we see Pep Guardiola’s men emulate Arsenals ‘invincibles’ of 2004 and go the entire season unbeaten? To me the signs look ominous.
A look at City’s bench at the London Stadium tells you all you need to know about the depth and quality that this squad possesses. Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan would all comfortably walk into most top European sides starting elevens.
Of course there’s no denying that since Sheik Mansour’s takeover in 2008, City now have the financial clout to build such a star-studded stable. But the way they are so ruthlessly swatting teams aside, tells me this could be a dynasty of dominance for the blue half of Manchester.
Over the last two seasons City have amassed 198 EPL points, an astonishing total. This is now the benchmark for any competitor wanting to get close to them.
As we know to their immense credit, Liverpool ran them so close last season. However uncertainty over the fitness of their front three and a potential December fixture pile up makes me question whether the Reds can keep up the pace this time round.
City’s main bit of transfer business in the summer was the arrival of Spanish holding midfielder Rodri for £62.4 million. The former Atletico player is seen as the heir apparent to Fernandinho, the midfield lynchpin entering the twilight of his career now at the age of 34.
Another acquisition was Joao Cancelo who will provide further competition down the flanks. The versatile fullback/winger already receiving a ringing endorsement from the unlikely source of Gary Neville, who worked with the Portuguese international during his ill-fated stint as manager at Valencia.
It’s hard to offer any crumbs of comfort for City’s challengers but try I shall. Perhaps their pursuit of Champions League glory may provide a distraction from their league form. Pep Guardiola has yet to progress beyond the quarter-final stage during his tenure as City boss, which although he hasn’t acknowledged publicly, is sure to wrangle him.
A last-minute VAR decision against Spurs in ‘that’ UCL game cost City a potential quadruple last time around, and no doubt they will be going all out again to land this as of yet elusive prize.
There will be also be questions as to how long Pep will remain at the helm at the Etihad. The man widely regarded as the world’s greatest coach has yet to complete four years at any of his previous clubs, and rumours continue to link him to the Qatar job in time for the 2022 World Cup, which of course the Middle East nation will be hosting.
I see this title race as being a one horse race this season. I’m backing City to win it by around 10-12 points, and perhaps I’ll also have a cheeky punt on them going the distance unbeaten.