- New stadium, tailor made for hikers
- How Wanderers' coach rose above derby chaos
What makes a team the best? The season undefeated? Achieve the impossible? Trophy winning consistency?
There are many Premier League teams ticking each of these boxes, but make a note of it in your journal, because right now we may be witness to the best selection of men to kick a ball in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is on its way to an unprecedented trophy train. It is crowned with possible record titles that achieve record points and goals.
It is hard to believe that once there were those who doubted that Guardiola could repeat its dominance in Europe in the allegedly highly competitive Premier League.
In this Premier League Premier League game, Southampton faces Wolves on Saturday, April 13, at 12 noon CEST on SBS.
When his Barcelona squad was in their Tiki Taka pomp, a commentator was suggested to suppose that the generation-determining team of the La Liga giants would "fight in a cold night at the Britannia Stadium" as if the elbows and the long balls of Tony Pulis era Stoke City would be an incredible problem for Messi, Xavi and Co.
Guardiola's first season in England was undoubtedly a disappointment, but even more so for the man himself than for all the other spectators.
In 2017, City took third place, eight points behind second-placed Tottenham and 15 points behind Antonio Contes title winner Chelsea.
For a man with Guardiola's reputation it was certainly not that intoxicating. It's the only time he finishes without a trophy.
He demolished this flaw the following season.
In the 2017/18 season, City was untouchable. The title he won with five games, and in almost all other categories, he set the bar back. Most points (100), most points before the second (19), most wins (32), most away wins (16), most goals (106), best goal difference (+79) and most wins in Episode (18).
Of course, with such a failed dominance, you must question the level of the opposition. The longer the Premier League, the higher the number of points needed to win the title. This means two things: The competition for the title is tougher than ever, and vice versa, the competition outside the top two decreases.
Last season, Manchester United finished with 81 points, 19 points behind City. The only club that had won the league so low in the last decade at any time was Leicester in her power vacuum tale of Alex Ferguson. While the city walk was not the most competitive premier victory ever, it was by far the most dominant one.
And it was not just the numbers – it was the way they did it. Less cerebral than Guardiolas Barcelona, no less dynamic or dissecting, but more aggressively tuned to the physical demands of the English game. Sergio Aguero's laser-guided boots, Fernandinho's unremarkable significance, Stephen Hawking's understanding of Stephen de Hawyne's movement in space and time on the field … Rarely was a whitewash so pleasing to look at.
For which great title winning teams can we keep them?
The "Invincibles" by Arsenal from 2003-04 are worth a comparison because of their sheer consistency. To complete an unbeaten Premier League season is an incredible achievement. The Arsene Wenger team scored eleven points and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, as did City this season. City, however, has the highest score and has already claimed the Charity Shield and the League Cup.
What about Jose Mourinho's Chelsea of 2004-05, a muscular, battering ram of a team that won the league with 12 points and conceded only 15 goals in 38 games? A great team, but without the finesse or grace of Guardiola's side – a suggestion Mourinho would mock.
And we can not get past Manchester United's best teams – two of them. In the 2007/08 season stood Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez, who took the second of three titles in a row and won the Champions League final against Chelsea. Both were fiercely contested competitions – they finished the league only two points ahead of Chelsea and defeated the blues in Europe in a chaotic penalty shootout.
Then there's the classic triple-winning side of 1998-99, Beckham, Scholes, etc. These were Peak United, glamor, dizzying football and sheer determination – but look at the statistics: they beat Arsenal in the league with just one point and even the Champions League triumph has been captured in the last few seconds. However, this team is still the only team claiming the league, the FA Cup and the Champions League rally. When trophies define size, this is the one.
The city this season has already called for the Carabao Cup (and the Charity Shield, but none other than Guardiola). On May 19, they meet in the FA Cup final at Watford. Watford is 10th in the league, has conceded 47 goals in 32 games and lost both league games against City already 5-2. The FA Cup is very likely, right?
Champions League: Tottenham beat Manchester City in their first Champions League quarter-final win.
Spores ground city
In Europe, City must overcome a 1-0 loss to Tottenham in the first leg of the quarter-finals. Given that this will be at home and the Spurs are likely to fail without Harry Kane, City is the favorite to win a semi-final. Progress will see Ajax or Juventus and then Liverpool / Porto or Man Utd / Barcelona in the final. So the Champions League is still open.
So then to the league. Six more games, tricky games against Crystal Palace, Spurs and United are pending. On the other side, City is unstoppable. They have won their last eight games and Guardiola's team scores an average of 2.61 goals and scored 0.68 goals per game. Suppose that both City and Liverpool win all their remaining games – a realistic perspective at the moment. City would claim the title with one point at 98 (with Liverpool at 97 a sum that would make every other year a lightweight champion), and their current strike rate would score 99 goals.
These would be consecutive titles with a total of 198 points and 203 goals scored.
Given the potential for a domestic cup, would the Guardiola team undoubtedly be the best Premier League team ever? Only as long as they do not stuff it somehow …