City may be the greatest of all-time
It’s the Christmas party season, spirits are high, and after one too many Rum Swizzles it’s easy to get carried away but yes, I’m going to say it, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are the best team to have graced English football.
Now I know I could be made to look pretty foolish if Tottenham end City’s winning streak tomorrow but every record in the book looks set to fall this season.
The 4-0 demolition of Swansea City on Wednesday night meant Guardiola’s men now hold the all-time league record of successive wins (15), which is the longest winning run in the top four tiers of English football since the Football League was founded in 1888.
Last week, at Old Trafford, they broke the record for consecutive wins in a single Premier League season after winning their fourteenth straight match — unconfirmed reports suggest they may also now hold the world’s best for most water bottles thrown in a tunnel post-match.
City are still undefeated this season and their breathtaking start of 16 wins and one draw surpasses the previous best in a top-flight season of 15 wins and one draw, set by Tottenham Hotspur in 1960-61.
They are also on course to smash three records held by Chelsea — 30 wins in a season (2016-17), 95 points in a season (2004-05) and 103 goals in a season (2009-10) — while Manchester United’s record Premier League-winning margin of 18 points (1999-00) is also under threat. Most impressive, though, is the style in which all this success is being achieved. Pace, possession, passing, moving, and the ability to break down teams who have 11 men behind the ball make them a joy to watch.
They will win the Premier League and are favourites to win the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League, so an unprecedented quadruple is far from impossible.
Sit back and enjoy history in the making, at least until they tear apart the team you support.
11am kick-offs unless stated
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace still haven’t scored an away league goal this season and they may find things tough against Leicester, who after a poor start to the season are up to eighth under Claude Puel, a highly underrated manager. Prediction: 2-0
Arsenal v Newcastle United
Arsenal picked up only two points on the road against Southampton and West Ham this week but their home record is good. Newcastle’s goalkeeper will need to be on form and will do well to keep an eye on Alexis Sanchez’s shorts at every Arsenal free kick. Sanchez always pulls his shorts up to display his right thigh before he takes one in a dangerous area. Prediction: 3-0
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley
Don’t expect excitement or goals. Sean Dyche continues to do a remarkable job at Burnley, who are up to sixth, but this game could turn into a snoozefest. Prediction: 0-0
Chelsea v Southampton
Chelsea bounced back from defeat at West Ham with an impressive midweek performance at Huddersfield. Southampton are hard to beat away from home but Chelsea should have enough even without the continued absence of Álvaro Morata. Prediction: 2-0
Stoke City v West Ham United
The bartender at the Last Chance Saloon has just started pouring a drink for Mark Hughes, who will surely be fired if his team lose to West Ham. Will a point keep him in a job?
Watford v Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield have an appalling away record but arrive at Vicarage Road as the inconsistent Watford struggle with injuries and suspension. David Wagner’s men will be happy with a point. Prediction: 1-1
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino has won only once in 17 trips to the Premier League’s big six since taking over at Spurs. That record will not be improved upon. Prediction: 2-1
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United
West Brom secured an important point at Anfield in midweek and may fancy their chances against Manchester Utd, who were well beaten by Manchester City and deeply unimpressive against Bournemouth. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I fancy an upset. Prediction: 1-0
Bournemouth v Liverpool 12.30pm
It’s difficult to know what to expect from Liverpool but they may be about to fire again after disappointing home draws against Everton and West Brom. Prediction: 0-2
Everton v Swansea City
Everton are unbeaten under Sam Allardyce and can continue their resurgence against the Premier League’s bottom club, who struggle to score goals away from home. Prediction: 2-0
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