So, that’s 15-0 in a week. Manchester City’s last triad of football matches have seen them score at least four times in each of them, Watford the latest side to be given a battering by Pep Guardiola’s side, and they lie joint-top in the Premier League, with four wins out of five and just two goals conceded.
But they’re still not the finished article yet, and the manager has been quick to point that out.
“After this (the Watford win) it looks like ‘oh no, we cannot improve! There are still movements and actions we can improve”. And given how last season panned out, his words were warranted.
City began the last campaign with six straight league wins and 10 in all competitions, even better than this term. In fact, the season before last, they opened with five league wins and five clean sheets on the bounce; but both ended in failed and disappointing title challenges, with third and fourth place finishes, alongside a League Cup triumph, to show for the two campaigns.
Pep, however, despite highlighting that his side are far from perfect, says last season’s impeccable start was down to the thrill of the arrival of a new manager more than anything else.
Whether or not he’s right about that, it’s fair to say that this season might bode well better than the 2016/2017 season, especially with City possessing energetic and less-ageing fullbacks, who can burst up and down both flanks for an entire game, an essential ingredient in every Guardiola side.
But City still haven’t quite faced any real stern opposition (the Liverpool game is still open to numerical debate) and their defence-minus Vincent Kompany especially, is still far from solid, their last two league opponents, Liverpool and Watford, have found room in their backline, with the frequency and ease that they shouldn’t have against a team who aims to be the best.
It is also worth mentioning that the real test for Pep and City will come when they have to respond to their first setback of the campaign.
Last season, after their perfect start was halted with a draw at Celtic in Europe, they followed it with a run of just seven wins in 17 games, a run that played no little part in derailing their title aspirations, and Pep seem aware of that.
“This is a very good period. I am curious to see how we react when things are not so good.”
Nevertheless, they are deservedly top, and while there will still be bigger tests to come, the prospect of them still having room for improvements can only bode well. City may still be a work in progress, but there’s progress in their work.