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Talking Points: The Season so far

SPECIAL K: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Gabriel Jesus

SPECIAL K: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Gabriel Jesus

The highlights, unsung heroes and adventure so far...

Fernandinho

Quietly efficient and effective, Fernandinho has made the anchor midfield role his own so far this season.

The Brazilian midfielder has helped protect the back four superbly throughout the first three months of the campaign and has been arguably one of the players of the season to date.

His knack of breaking up the opposition’s attacks, crucial tackles (not many people get past him) and ability to start moves is impressive, but his pivotal role of receiving the ball from Ederson and distributing play has been outstanding.

A very cool head in the most pressured areas and moments of the game, Fernandinho has been an absolute rock in the side this season.

 

BRAZILIAN BLEND: The City players celebrate after Fernandinho's stunner

 

Rolling Stones

John Stones would be the first to admit his first season at City maybe didn’t pan out the way he had hoped.

There was a lot of pressure on his young shoulders after his high-profile move from Everton and he was very much in the spotlight for both Club and country.

A mix of central defensive partners and formations throughout 2016/17 meant it was difficult to forge understandings and as a result, there were mistakes along the way and sometimes uncertainty.

That was then, this is now.

This term, Stones has been superb throughout. His partnership with Nicolas Otamendi has blossomed and the pair will give the manager a pleasant headache once Vincent Kompany returns from injury.

Assured, strong and confident, it’s not hard to understand why the Blues were so keen to the Club and at 23, he is one of Europe’s most outstanding defensive prospects.

 

SOLID AT THE BACK: John Stones vies for possession with Arsenal's Sea Kolasinac.

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John Stones loving Otamendi partnership

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City’s influence

The Blues are influencing how other teams play in England – that is without a doubt.

The number of teams attempting to play intricately out from the back seems to be on the increase as other managers and coaches attempt to follow Pep’s blueprint.

And it could be spreading down the divisions, too.

Last week’s televised game between Hyde United and MK Dons could be a case in point. MK continually played passes from the goalkeeper to full-backs and midfielders and played through the middle, using overlapping full-backs and wingers to great effect – sound familiar?

While it may not be reinventing the wheel and other coaches might justifiably say they were playing that way already, there can be no doubt that City’s style this season has been greatly admired by British football fans far and wide and it can only be good for the game and, going forward, maybe the national team, too.

It's a style that does the term ‘beautiful football’ justice.

 

ON THE MONEY: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates putting City in the lead.

 

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Pep Guardiola will be particularly pleased about one stat this season – the way the goals are being shared among his team.

The Blues have knocked in 53 so far this campaign, with Raheem Sterling (10), Sergio Aguero (10), Gabriel Jesus (9) and Leroy Sane (9).

Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva’s combined total of four is proof they’ve been so busy making goals for everyone else, they’ve not been scoring themselves, but that stat should even out as the campaign goes on.

And the fact Stones and Otamendi (three goals apiece) have already beaten last season’s personal tally of three combined – 17 games into the season – suggests one of them could go on and get double figures if the Blues keep scoring freely in the months to come.

 

ASSIST KINGS: Silva and De Bruyne continue to set up goals for their teammates at a staggering rate

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Assist Kings: Silva and De Bruyne

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Long way to go…

As things stand, you won’t find anyone at the Club celebrating anything other than the exciting brand of football being played.

As the old saying going goes, there are no trophies handed out in November, so while the Blues are powering ahead in the Premier League, Champions League and the Carabao Cup, there is still a long way to go in each competition.

Pep says there is no way his team can go unbeaten this season and, statistically and historically speaking, he is highly likely to be proved correct.

But to be eight points clear in the league, in the quarter-finals of one domestic cup competition and the last 16 of the Champions League is pretty much as good as it could be three months into the season.

Teams will try and figure a way of stopping the Blues – as Arsenal did last weekend – and there will be times when, no matter how prepared the team are and how hard they will try, things just might not go our way.

But continuing to play as we are doing, there will be plenty more happy days than there will be disappointments.

So, the message has to be to keep looking to the next game and no further, and enjoy the adventure.

 

SALUTE: Job well done, so far!

 

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