When people talk about Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, they will instantly talk about the eye-catching attacking football the Citizens play. However, that attacking football is not possible without a solid defence. Last season, City not only had the best attack in the Premier League but also the best defence too, as they coasted to the top-flight title. In short, they have very few weaknesses, which has been illustrated perfectly in recent games.
Formidable in defence
Manchester City have been simply formidable in defence of late. The Citizens have conceded just one goal in their last eight games in all competitions, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. City’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson has now gone ten hours without conceding a goal in the Premier League.
The Citizens have not only kept clean sheets but kept clean sheets against top-six rivals such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. All three games were away from home and Guardiola’s team give very little away against any of the trio.
Even bogey team from last season Liverpool struggled to break down the Citizens defence. In fact, the Reds were fortunate to escape the encounter at Anfield with a point after a last-gasp penalty miss by Riyad Mahrez.
Got the ball most the game
It is very rare for Manchester City not to come off a pitch having racked up a high rate of possession against any opponent. They usually dominate the ball, which is part of the reason that the Citizens concede so few goals.
Guardiola, who is always demanding more from his team, has taken the old adage about the opposition team not being able to score if you have the ball to a new level. The Catalan boss wants his team to play perfect football, so keeps pushing his players.
There is no such thing as perfect when it comes to football. However, Guardiola’s teams come pretty close at both ends of the pitch.
His defenders such as John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are comfortable with the ball at their feet. However, the pair can both defend too, as can full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy.
There were question marks about Walker’s defensive ability in the past, but he has improved that facet of his game in recent years. Mendy may be a marauding attacking full-back, but he also knows how to defend.
Favourites to win the title once again
It is difficult to see anybody stopping Manchester City winning the Premier League title this season. The Citizens are quite rightly favourites to win the title once again simply because of the quality they possess at both ends of the pitch.
Liverpool and Chelsea look like the Citizens most likely challengers. However, the Citizens have already avoided defeat at Anfield, but are yet to face Chelsea this season.
It would be highly surprising if City failed to win the title this season. The Citizens have looked even stronger than last season, as their defensive displays have improved. In true Pep Guardiola fashion, City are looking a formidable team and are only improving.
Will Manchester City retain their Premier League crown?