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When Raheem Sterling scooped the ball into the back of the net in the seventh minute of injury time at Bournemouth back in August, few could have predicted how crucial the goal would be in shaping City’s incredible season.
That dramatic triumph at the Vitality Stadium – though early in the season – kicked off a remarkable run for the Blues.
Pep Guardiola’s men would go on to build a sensational winning streak of 18 Premier League games, allowing City to establish a firm grip on top spot, which would never be relinquished.
Our win at Newcastle in December – the 18th victory – opened up a 15-point gap atop the division and moved the Blues to within one victory of equalling Bayern Munich’s all-time record of 19 consecutive league triumphs.
Guardiola would not match his own record, as Crystal Palace held the table-toppers to a goalless draw on New Year’s Eve… but few were complaining with City standing tall as the ‘Christmas number one'.
"The only way to have success in this year is to play more with the ball.”
The tactics may alter for each game but Guardiola has always maintained the importance of dominating possession.
Last season, City controlled the lion’s share of the ball and broke (yet more) Premier League records in the process.
In the 5-0 triumph over Swansea, the Blues tallied the highest ever possession stats (controlling 83% of the ball), and also recorded the highest ever possession in an away game with 82.13% at Everton.
In addition, we broke our own record for the most completed passes in a single game since 2003/04 with 942 from 1,015 attempts, meaning we were also the first Premier League side to reach four figures.
The pass masters!
All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from across this morning's back pages
The defender has enjoyed a stellar tournament with the Three Lions, featuring in every game so far and with two goals to his name with a brace against Panama, as Gareth Southgate’s men have reached the last four for the first time in 28 years.
Ferna and the skipper...