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Talking Points: Ilkay, Laporte, Sergio and Basel

ILKAY GUNDOGAN: German precision

ILKAY GUNDOGAN: German precision

Five talking points to emerge from City's 1-0 victory over Chelsea...

1 Gundogan form

Ilkay Gundogan pushed Leroy Sane close for man-of-the-match honours against Chelsea.

The Germany international was making his 36th appearance of the season and was again filling the void left by Fernandinho in the midfield anchor role.

Though the visitors hardly pressed high, he did everything he had to do with great efficiency and minimum fuss. By the end of the game, he’d created a new Premier League passing record with 167 successful passes and a 96% success rate.

With Gundogan seamlessly slotting into Ferna’s role so well, it proves City can cope without the influential Ferna when the situation demands – not that he won’t be welcomed back with open arms on his return to fitness.


PASS MASTER: Ilkay Gundogan set a new Premier League record against Chelsea.

Every Touch


Every touch: Gundogan v Chelsea

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2 Sergio’s best yet?

Pep Guardiola believes Sergio Aguero may be playing the best football of his career – certainly, he asserts, since he arrived as manager.

The stats back up Pep’s assertion that Sergio has looked sharper and more confident than ever, with 15 goals so far for the Argentine in 2018.

Kun’s link up play and all-round game is flourishing under the Catalan and as we await his historic 200th Club goal, it is great to see a genuine Manchester City legend still at the very peak of his powers and, perhaps, a little more besides.


GOAL MACHINE: Sergio Aguero was integral in the winner against Chelsea



3 Laporte settling in nicely

Four games in and Aymeric Laporte is already looking the part.

Calmness personified, it’s easy to see why the Blues were so keen to bring the French defender to the Club.

Some of his touches were sublime for a big man and his technique is backed up by a belief in his own ability.

That Chelsea failed to register a single shot on target is down to some competent and tidy work by Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker.

And he will only get better as time goes on.


POST-MATCH VERDICT: Aymeric Laporte shares his thoughts on City's win.



Laporte: I'm still adapting to the Premier League

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4 Champagne on ice

Though City still need to secure 12 points to guarantee the Premier League title, it was clear what the 1-0 win over Chelsea meant to Pep, the team and the coaching staff.

This was a game the Blues felt they had to win, despite the yawning gap at the top, and though there are games against Everton, United and Spurs on the horizon, it seems unlikely that Liverpool or United will win all their remaining games.


SQUAD GOALS: City celebrate together after Bernardo Silva's second half goal.



Man City v Chelsea: Brief highlights

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United take on Liverpool next weekend and should the Merseysiders win or draw and City win at Stoke, given the huge goal difference advantage the Blues have, seven more points would be enough.

A lot of ifs and buts, but how fitting would it be for City to be crowned champions at Wembley against Spurs? Well, it would be for City fans!

None of the chasing pack will give an inch in the coming weeks and the longer they can delay the seemingly inevitable, the better for them.

There will be no celebrations until it is mathematically certain the Blues cannot be caught – so there’s work still hard work to be done.


5 Basel options

City go into the second leg of the Round of 16 tie with Basel in very good shape.

Basel would need to put four goals past City without reply just to force extra time and/or penalties.

Given the way the Blues have been playing this season, it seems unlikely in the extreme that this will happen.


MASTERFUL: Ilkay Gundogan guides City's fourth into the top corner.



Match highlights: FC Basel 0-4 City

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It will be fascinating to see which starting XI Pep goes for, but it will be an opportunity to play Claudio Bravo, Fabian Delph, John Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and Yaya Toure, who would all benefit from additional game time.

Whichever team Pep selects, it will be one he fully expects to complete the task and put City into the quarter-finals for only the second time.

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Media Watch

'Magic' De Bruyne earns compatriot's praise

MAIN MAN: Kevin De Bruyne has been praised by Chelsea's Eden Hazard.

Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane are singled out for praise in Monday morning’s Media Watch.

The midfield duo have taken the plaudits after Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Chelsea, while there’s also a spot of transfer speculation on the back pages, today.

Men's Team

Pep: Consistency is key

HAPPY MANAGER: Pep Guardiola celebrates Bernardo's goal.

Pep Guardiola insists that Manchester City will not lose focus in the title run-in and won't be deflected by talk of breaking the Premier League record points total.

Pep Guardiola says that his side will take each game as it comes as the Premier League title race nears its conclusion.