As Manchester City go in search of another Premier League win at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve, the press are once again purring over our performances so far this season.
Indeed, a win at Selhurst Park will see us equal the top-flight European record of 19-consecutive league wins, currently held by Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side, and Michael Butler, writing in the Guardian, has penned an article outlining the way in which the Catalan boss revolutionises the Clubs he manages.
“Manchester City managers of the future have a problem,” Butler writes. “The football played at the end of 2017 will always be the standard to which they are held. This month, City fan Noel Gallagher, a man not known for his compliments and somebody that has seen 250,000 people at Knebworth sing his name, described what is going on at the Etihad as “the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life”.
“Hyperbole perhaps, but if you do not agree that Pep Guardiola’s side are playing the best football of the Premier League era, then nobody can argue with the record that City are furthering each week — it is 18 consecutive league wins and counting.
“This is, however, not yet a Guardiola record. Between October 2013 and March 2014 under the Spaniard, Bayern Munich won 19 Bundesliga matches on the trot, the last of which a 3-1 victory at Hertha Berlin that secured the league title with seven matches to spare, also a record. (Guardiola holds the joint record, too, for consecutive league wins in Spain: his Barcelona side managed 16.)
"How to compare Guardiola’s run at Bayern with this run at City? Different players in a different league at a different time. Guardiola favoured a 4-1-4-1 formation in 2013-14 with Philipp Lahm scurrying about in front of the back four and the attack focused around one of Mario Mandzukic or Thomas Müller as the central pivot, the axis in a whirlwind of one-twos and cut-backs."
Meanwhile, the Sun have had their say ahead of City’s trip to Palace. Their verdict? A tough afternoon but a City win.
“With 18 consecutive league wins under their belt, City are now just one more away from equalling Pep Guardiola’s record of 19 that he achieved with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga,” they write.
“Will they get it at Selhurst Park?
“Probably, but Palace’s habit of sticking almighty spanners in the works when the bigger clubs turn up (just ask Liverpool, Chelsea, etc) may give them hope to get something from the game.
“That said, City have won the last five meetings by an aggregate score of 19 goals to Palace’s one so there’s every chance they could get another proper pummelling.
“SUNSPORT PREDICTION: AWAY WIN”
And, finally, transfer speculation continues apace, with the Express’s Neil Fissler claiming Alexis Sanchez is determined to join City from Arsenal.
Fissler believes the Chilean has set his heart on a move to the Etihad and is prepared to reject offers from other Clubs in January in order to secure a summer switch to City.
“Alexis Sanchez will refuse to leave Arsenal when the transfer window opens tomorrow after setting his heart on a move to Manchester City this summer,” Fissler writes.
“Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is believed to be ready to listen to offers for the Chilean international who will be out of contract at the end of the season.
“Sanchez wants to reunite with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium but the run away Premier League leaders want to wait until the summer to get their man.
“French giants Paris Saint-Germain are keen on signing Sanchez who would cost around £30million despite having only six months left to run on his deal.”
That’s all for this morning’s roundup. Stay with us here on mancity.com for full coverage of today’s game at Crystal Palace.