As we say in another recent blog post, few would bet against Manchester City becoming champions this year. After 13 games, City sit proudly at the top of the table, eight points clear of fierce local rivals Manchester United in second place.
There’s no doubt Pep Guardiola’s side is full of great players and has been the standout team by a mile so far – but is the race for the title really a foregone conclusion?
Why it’s possible to beat City
The fact that Leicester City won the title two seasons ago shows that, unlike Spain’s La Liga and others, the Premier League is very competitive and anyone can beat anyone else. And while City have yet to lose a match, they are by no means perfect.
While Guardiola spent a lot of money on trying to improve his team’s defence in pre-season, this remains its weakness. Of course, City are a joy to watch, but tactics decree that the full-backs push forward on demand, which leave gaps and makes them vulnerable to counter attacks.
With John Stones facing some time out and Vincent Kompany no longer the player he was, a team with the right tactics can take advantage. And who better to do just that than Jose Mourinho? As a master tactician, the Portuguese will surely have noticed City’s weak points and will aim to exploit them.
When Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are both fit, each player makes the other one better, with the Belgian having a telepathic understanding of the Frenchman’s positioning and passes. Add the frightening pace of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial into the mix and you have the ingredients of a thrilling top-of-the-table clash.
City are likely favourites, despite the fact that United are at home. But thanks to data from the best bookmakers for football courtesy of bookmakeradvisor.com, we can see it may be worth taking a punt on United for that game.
Besides all this, City are just eight points clear and it is more than possible that the can be caught. In the most competitive league in the world, it’s perhaps insulting to United and the rest of the big six to suggest that they might as well as give up because the title is already decided – it isn’t.
Why City will become champions
Despite defensive frailties, these are nothing compared to the gaping holes in others’ whole squads. City have world-class players all over the pitch, and even on the bench. They are eight points clear because they just steamroller everything in their path.
As well as the high-scoring performances, a key mark of champions is the ability to come back from behind; in the Fergie era, United used to do this all the time. By coming back from 1-0 down away to Huddersfield to win 2-1, City showed their determination for victory, despite not playing at their best.
Their nearest rivals, United, lost form when Pogba got injured. By contrast, back in October. City followed doubts about their ability to cope without an injured Sergio Aguero with a 1-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge; this was a masterclass in tactics from Guardiola.
And with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Aguero in the team, it’ll be a wonder if City lose at all this season.