Last night, Manchester City defeated Manchester United 2-1 in a crucial derby that could well mean that the race for the EPL title is already over. Not only have Manchester City opened a 11-point gap, they have established themselves as a fearless unit who like to win at all costs.
One of the primary things that is helping City at the moment, is that the players wholeheartedly believe in Pep Guardiola’s philosophy. He had earned his name by making Barcelona into one of the best teams of all time, and now he is showing that he might be able to do that with Manchester City as well.
City didn’t do that well last season, but Guardiola believes that is because the players need some time to adapt to a new manager. “I cannot change something I don’t believe. The principle is we are here because we believe in something. When it happens, maybe you are convinced. Life is like that. People think managers just arrive and it works [overnight] but it’s not always like that,” Guardiola said in a press conference.
Also, just like Manchester United had made a habit out of winning games in the dying minutes of the match (they even called injury time as ‘Fergie time’), Manchester City are doing the same. Recently, Raheem Sterling had scored a clincher in injury time to secure a crucial victory over Southampton.
The team looks fit as a fiddle, and they haven’t had much injuries like other teams. In fact, Pogba went ahead and said, “I hope – and it’s bad to say things like this – but I hope they will get some very important players injured like what happened with us.”
Other than that, they have some incredible depth in their squad with players like Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and John Stones bringing their A-Game on a regular basis. They are firing all cylinders in every aspect of the game – be it defence or attack.
Even opposition managers are conceding defeat, which is saying something. “If Manchester City continue in this way, I think this is the big problem for all the teams who are thinking about fighting for the title. If they continue in this way, it will be very difficult to fight for the title,” Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said.
After last night’s match, even Jose Mourinho suggested that the title race may be over because the gods are smiling on Guardiola’s team. “I don’t know but you know I think they are a very good team, I think they are lucky, I think they have all these decisions in their favor, probably yes,” he said.
Not only that, they are able to manage the grueling schedule that teams have to endure if they are competing in Champions League and English Premier League. Since EPL is probably the most competitive of all leagues, English teams often suffer the brunt in European competitions. But that hasn’t happened with City this season, and they have won 5 of their 6 games in UCL this season.
If they continue in this vein, it looks like they’ll win the treble. But then, you can never say anything for sure in football.