It’s been a whirlwind of a season thus far. Contenders for the title have fallen down the table as quickly as they climbed it, and the Premier League title odds have chopped and changed almost as often as Chelsea managers during the Roman Abramovich era.
At one point, Jürgen Klopp claimed that Chelsea were the favorites for the title.
However, the west London side crumbled, and Frank Lampard has since been replaced by former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel at the Stamford Bridge helm. Even Liverpool are suffering from a surprise dip in form. They went five league games without a win, dropping down to fourth, and making way to their bitter rivals Manchester United at the top of the table.
However, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side picking up just five points their last four games, Manchester City, who had an incredibly slow start to the season by their standards, have now opened up a five-point lead over their cross-city rivals, and they have a game in hand.
Can Manchester City be beaten?
So, the question is now whether anybody can stop Manchester City from running away with the title in the second half of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s side is in inspired form. They have won 10 league games on the bounce, one of the best runs of form by any side in the league this season, and when Man City start to get the ball rolling, they are notoriously hard to stop.
There was hope amongst City’s nearest rivals when Kevin De Bruyne picked up an injury in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa last month which will leave him sidelined for up to six weeks. However, the 2018/19 champions have looked none the weaker without him.
İlkay Gündoğan’s performance against West Brom in the following game was a sigh of relief for City fans who were worried about the absence of De Bruyne.
The German struck twice in the 5-0 trashing over Sam Allardyce’s side, whilst their attacking play as a whole was frightening in that game. Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, and full-back João Cancelo provided a goal and an assist each, whilst Bernardo Silva was also in on the action as he set up a goal as well.
However, the tighter than usual schedule could prove a hiccup for Man City
Games are coming thick-and-fast over the course of the next month or so. In fact, at the time of writing, Guardiola’s side will still play six more games throughout the course of February, including away trips, Arsenal, Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Champions League, and a home encounter against Tottenham.
Over the course of their 10-game winning streak, City hasn’t always been their free-flowing selves.
Yes, they looked incredibly dangerous in the wins over Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, and West Brom, but in the victories over Brighton, Aston Villa, and most recently Sheffield United they were far from their glittering best.
We can sit and talk about how Silva’s late goal that broke the deadlock against Villa shouldn’t have stood and how only one goal separated them from rock-bottom Sheffield United. However, the most important thing to take away from those games is the three points, and in the true style of champions, City did just that.
They are entering a crucial part of the season, and it’s going to be tough, but it’s worth noting that their nearest rivals have just as busy schedules with cup ties and Champions League encounters as well.
Should Man City come out of this month unscathed, then it’s hard to see anybody stopping them from there on in!