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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The latest from our loan stars...
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.
Pep Guardiola says that his side will take each game as it comes as the Premier League title race nears its conclusion.