Every now and then the Premier League has a club that is head and shoulders above the rest. We saw it over the opening decade of the 21st century with United, and periodically Chelsea. However, nothing in the Premier League’s 26-year history has come close to Manchester City’s stranglehold. And according to those who know most about the game, it is a grip we can continue to maintain next year and beyond.
Antonio Conte, a man with enough troubles of his own that he certainly has no reason to be anything less than frank about opposing teams, says this is a team that gets everything right. It sounds simple, but that is the key to City’s success. It has not come through a great attack of an inspired leader or a powerful midfield – but it has come through City ticking a whole combination of boxes. And that is what makes the team so strong, and likely to remain so.
Ask most people which team you should bet a pound on to win the Premier League in three years time, and you will get a bemused reaction. They will tell you to go consult a fortune teller or that your money would be better invested in a min deposit £1 casino online. Ask Pep Guardiola and you will get a different reply. City will. That’s not managerial bluster, it’s a simple statement of his strategy, and even now his brain is ticking over how to make sure it happens.
When City won the Premier League with five games still to spare, there was celebration, of course. However, even as the team were still celebrating their title with what was almost an exhibition match of scintillating football against Swansea back in April, Guardiola’s mind had already moved on to next year and how to keep the momentum going. He’s still smarting from failing to win anything in his first year, and he knows that to go down as a truly great team, he and City need to match or exceed Alex Ferguson’s three titles on the spin.
An unbeatable engine room
Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne are three of the top midfielders in the world. Add to them Silva and Fernandinho, and you have an engine room that can power the forwards to more goals than the rest, it is that simple. This is where City’s heartbeat lies, and the interesting thing is that while the rest of football is now in the grips of transfer fever, these guys are above it all, waiting for next season to begin.
A team that believes
No team can have a great day at the office every time they go out into the middle. But even when City had one of their occasional sub-par performances, they never looked like losing. Take the Manchester derby last December. Mourinho described City as “lucky” after the match, and perhaps they were to a certain extent. But this is a team that knows how to coalesce and make its own luck. And that’s something the rest of the Premier League seems destined to see plenty more of in the seasons to come.