Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium was their 15th consecutive victory in all competitions – an impressive run that has seen them set a new record in English football.
This latest win also saw Pep Guardiola achieve the milestone of 200 successes as the club’s boss. Fresh off the back of an impressive win at Anfield, which helped them open up a ten point lead over last season’s champions having played a game fewer, City made changes in the FA Cup but were still comfortable winners.
Having finished 18 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s Reds last season, many questioned whether Pep Guardiola was capable of rallying his troops, freshening things up and closing the gap on the Merseysiders this season.
With City now most people’s favourites to win their third league title under the Catalan, it appears he has silenced those doubters.
There have rarely been question marks around their ability to play attractive football, but they have often been criticised for a lack of defensive solidarity. The fact they’ve seemingly put that right this season has seen a significant improvement during what has been a difficult campaign for all.
In City’s 22 league fixtures so far, they’ve conceded just 14 goals – 15 less than last season’s champions. The summer signing of Ruben Dias from Benfica for in excess of £60m has made a difference along with the resurgence of John Stones. The England defender’s career at the Etihad looked as though it was over but to his credit, after some impressive performances, he has re-established himself as a first-team regular.
While the defence have done their bit, Guardiola’s attack has continued to function effectively despite Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both having their issues this season. Both players were hit by the coronavirus and the City boss has had to improvise.
Add Kevin De Bruyne being currently sidelined with a hamstring problem and it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the 2018/19 champions at the front end of the pitch.
Ilkay Gundogan has stepped up, contributing an impressive nine goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances, and it feels as though things are starting to click in Manchester despite the absence of some key players.
It’s scary to think what a force they could be with a fully-fit De Bruyne and their Argentine striker Aguero firing on all cylinders.
They could yet become even more formidable and it’s clear Guardiola is far from finished as one of the game’s top coaches. This recent run proves it.