Darren England blew the whistle to bring Manchester City’s 30th English Premier League game to a close. The Citiyzen’s had just beaten 2015-16 champions Leicester City 3-1 in a game that never really seemed out of the defending champions reach, bar the last 15 minutes anyway.
Leicester attempted a come-back in the late stages of the game which was unsuccessful. Eventually Man City sealed the win and closed the gap between themselves and league leaders Arsenal to six points.
The Gunners went on to do them a favor the following day by drawing against West Ham and Southampton in successive games. City finally have the title within their reach.
Manchester City have in the last decade become a mainstay at the pinnacle of English football.
The Cityzen’s have won four out of the last five Premier League titles since 2018 , FA Cup titles in 2011 and 2019 and six League cup victories since the 2013-14 season. It is not far-fetched to label Manchester City the best English side in the last ten years. However silverware in Europe eludes the ever locally dominant blue side of Manchester.
Their failures in Europe have been well documented. Man City have exited at the quarter finals three years in a row from 2017 to 2020. They did make it to the final two years ago only to lose to a Thomas Tuchel inspired Chelsea and topped it off with a semi-final exit last season at the hands of eventual champions Real Madrid.
Erling Haaland was signed in the summer to bolster an already star studded squad with most believing the signing was geared towards City’s pursuit of the Champions league.
This meant their domestic “inconsistencies” this season which has seen them trail behind Arsenal were largely attributed to their pursuit of European club football’s most coveted trophy.
The last few months however tell a different story. After a draw in Germany against RB Leipzig in the first leg of the UEFA champions league round of 16 tie the men in blue have not lost a game.
Eleven wins and a draw in all competitions with five of those coming in the premier league means City have done a great job of keeping their title defense very much alive.
Erling Haaland’s blistering form which has seen the Norwegian net 32 goals in 28 league appearances, talismanic performances of team captain Kevin De Bruyne who has 15 assists in 28 games and the surging form of £100 million man Jack Grealish to name a few has put city on the verge of a possibly historic season.
A date with Manchester United awaits the Premier League champions in the FA cup final. A game which Pep will be keen on after losing in the semi-final to Liverpool last year.
The title defining fixture against Arsenal is at our doorstep and most fans and pundits fancy City considering the form they are currently in and with Guardiola at the helm of affairs. Football is however played on the field and not on paper.
To be fair to Manchester City conversations about their form at certain points in the premier league season were blown out of proportion.
League leaders Arsenal have been close to perfect for most parts of the season with their flaws only showing in the last few weeks but they still cant shake off this City team that many claimed were struggling.
City have their destiny in their own hands this time around so with a game in hand and a date with the current league leaders at home Pep and his men will fancy their chances at the clinching the league title in addition to the spoils the FA Cup and Champions League may bring.
They have their eyes on all their potential prices and are considerable favourites as well but you won’t hear it from the lips of Guardiola.
The talking happens on the pitch.