Manchester City are off to a flying start in 2018-19, demolishing all but one in their path thus far following their 100-point season. But with such a quality squad at their disposal, winning the Premier League alone might not be enough to impress the critics anymore. Instead, City may need to break the record they set last year for points in a season. Is it possible for the Cityzens to hit 101 or more points in a Premier League season?
In theory, the answer to this question is yes. Premier League odds have City as favourites to win the league in a big way. After three rounds of competition, City find themselves at 2/3 odds to lift the trophy for the second straight season. Every other team in the league, meanwhile, is at 5/2 or higher to ruin the team's title defence. But can City do enough to hit 101 points?
If there is one thing required to do so, it is depth, which is something that City have in spades. The team lost Kevin De Bruyne to injury early in the season, and responded by hanging six goals on their opponents that same week. And although their opponent was Huddersfield Town and not, say, Tottenham, the performance was a testament to just how deep a team is in sky blue at the moment. Having the luxury to bring on Riyad Mahrez when already up 4-1 and Leroy Sane when up 5-1 is not a level of depth that any team in this league has had before.
The question now is if City can sustain this level of play for an entire season. With so many players having been involved in the World Cup, a lull is certainly possible at some point in the season due to a lack of time off. Pep Guardiola will have to be diligent in his squad rotations to avoid fatigue and subsequent injuries, especially during the time of year when the Champions League and cup competitions are happening simultaneously.
And City are still not a perfect football team, which is worth remembering in the midst of the praise they have been receiving. They have some holes, like their depth in defensive midfield. And, yes, most clubs would be thrilled to have so few weaknesses, but just because there aren’t a lot of them doesn’t mean that those weaknesses don’t exist.
Some of those fragilities were on display in the Cityzens’ 1-1 draw with Wolves. While City clearly had the better of the action throughout, their finishing was lacking during that game, which was enough to cost them two points. And while goals that come from blatantly missed handball decisions shouldn’t burn them too often, those things can happen and hurt the team if they aren’t at their best.
City certainly have the talent and the depth to take 101 points or more from the Premier League in 2018-19. But with a need to focus on the Champions League and the desire to avoid injury that could come from playing stars enough to reach that threshold, it is probably smarter to simply do enough to win the league instead. Granted, with a manager as intense as Pep Guardiola, the goal will always be to win every single match, no matter the occasion.