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Published on April 19th, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta

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Are Manchester City the best ever team of the Premier League era?

Manchester City are set to shatter a number of Premier League records by the end of the current campaign, but does that make them a GOAT in England?

The question of the season in English football. And rightly so, because Manchester City have shown such a quality to their football to deserve the debate. They’ve broken almost every record, and have set the bar at a new standard in terms of spectacular passing and positional game. In short: they’ve become a Pep Guardiola team. But is this actually enough to make them the best ever?

Let’s start with the records and statistics. City have equalled rivals Manchester United, who back in 2001 won the title with five games still to play. They’ve won 18 matches in a row, nobody has ever managed before. Add 11 consecutive away wins to the mix, another record. They’ve managed 28 wins so far, the record is Chelsea’s on 30, and can be beaten. The Citizens are 16 points clear of United, who hold the record of winning a title with an 18-point final margin, but this record can be broken. The best goal difference is also within reach: City are on +66, Chelsea’s record is +71. Most goals can also be beaten: City need 10 in the final five games. Most points is another record held by Chelsea, but City can also beat this.

Then individually: Guardiola became the first manager to win the Premier League Manager of the Month for four successive months. City dominated the PFA Premier League Team of the Year with five players.

Essentially, all statistics within the single season point in the same direction: this is probably the best side ever to be seen in the Premier League, especially if you consider the aesthetics as well as the numbers, and especially if you keep the debate to the most impressive in the single season.

But there’s been teams who have dominated for much longer. City could become one, but it isn’t the case yet. Also, the quarter-final elimination in the Champions League showed the lack of full maturity of this squad: there is still work to be done.

Manchester United between 1993 and 2001 won the Premier League on seven occasions, interrupted by Arsenal, who won it in 1998 and then took over in the early 2000s to go on to win the 2003-04 title unbeaten – The Invincibles, something Guardiola was unable to achieve this season. United also managed to lift the Champions League trophy in 1999, completing a historical treble. Arsenal reached the final in 2006, ending the glory days under Arsene Wenger. Then came José Mourinho’s Chelsea, able to win the title twice in a row, before a revamp of Sir Alex Ferguson’s United leading to another three successive titles and the Champions League in 2008, as well as the final in 2009, losing to Guardiola’s Barcelona.

All these teams have consistency over the years on their side in the debate. Considering a single season, very few can match Guardiola’s 2017/18 City. But over the course of a footballing cycle – three to five years, for argument’s sake – Pep’s Citizens still have a long way to go in proving themselves domestically and also internationally, with that Champions League trophy that will inevitably become the main aim from next season.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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