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Could Manchester City become the best team in Premier League history?

Jake Jackman

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Manchester City

The Premier League has become a juggernaut since being launched in 1992 and it is now widely regarded as the best league in the world. The advancements in technology throughout that period have helped it become what it is today, and it is now possible to watch every kick of the season if you wanted to do so. There are often debates about the best team of the Premier League era, among various other categories that are frequently discussed.

It can now be argued that the league is the best that it has ever been and there is a team beginning to emerge as the best that the division has ever seen. There was a lot of excitement when Pep Guardiola was announced as the new manager of Manchester City during the 2015/16 season. He didn’t take charge until the following summer, but his reputation as the world’s best coach was enough to convince a lot of supporters that the club would now reach new heights.

There will always be criticism for anyone involved in football and the reputation that Guardiola has meant that his every decision was heavily scrutinised in the media. A lot alluded to his CV and that he had only ever taken easy jobs. Manchester City was far from that at the time of his appointment. They may have a lot of finances behind them, but they weren’t in a strong position when he took the job.

It was an ageing squad that needed to be re-hauled and the club weren’t seen as a huge European name. They had not enjoyed a lot of success in the Champions League and their lack of history meant that they weren’t known for that. City were still in the infancy of their journey to the summit of the game and the board recognised the need for a world-class manager. Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini were both respected, but neither have the ability of Guardiola.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager’s reputation preceded him, as City quickly became every pundit’s pick for the league title. However, Guardiola finished 15 points off the top of the table and it was a year of learning for the world-class coach. These quotes reported by the Manchester Evening News show that he benefited from his first season in England.

“I expected to do it quicker but football works like this sometimes. It takes more time but that is fascinating from my point of view. I am a better manager not because of the Premier League or English football but because I have lost more than in my recent past. When you lose more games, you learn more.”

These are fascinating quotes and a rare glimpse into the mind of a coach, who doesn’t rely on clichés when talking to the media. He didn’t panic or lose faith and learned on the job to deliver a team that can dominate the Premier League in a way that hasn’t been witnessed before. The weaknesses in goal and full-back were identified and corrected in the following summer. They are now flying high after securing 40 from the opening 42 points on offer.

Could they become the best team in Premier League history?

During the modern age, everything is over-hyped in football, due to the widespread media coverage and the growing presence of social media. Manchester City are already the overwhelming favourites to lift the title at odds of 1/8, which reflects how dominant they have been so far. It is early days into the Pep Guardiola era, but this team is shaping up to be the best we have ever witnessed in the Premier League.

They have dropped points on only one occasion this season, having beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea already. Their attack is the best in the division by some distance, as they have scored 44 goals in their first 14 matches. This averages at 3.1 goals per game, which is remarkable in a league as strong as the Premier League. In addition to an excellent attack, they have conceded at a rate of less than one a game and their organisation has improved a lot since last season.

As things stand, they are eight points clear at the top of the division and there isn’t a single team that look to be a realistic challenger to City. Their local rivals, United, are in second, but they haven’t been as convincing and their approach in big matches holds them back.

One pleasing aspect from this season has been the improvement of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, as both are now crucial members of the first-team. Guardiola has recruited well with Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Kyle Walker and Ederson coming in among others, but he is able to improve those players that he inherited and that is the mark of an elite coach.

It is too soon to state outright that they are the best team in Premier League history. They have yet to win a trophy with Guardiola at the helm and there is always a chance that they could go on a bad run at some point before May. However, the signs are that this group of players is set to dominate English football for the next few years at least. They look as impressive as Guardiola’s Barcelona team at times and that is no mean feat.

They have a long way to go, but this team could go the Premier League season unbeaten and in a more exciting fashion than Arsenal managed in 2003/4. Furthermore, they have the talent to win every competition they are in. They are that good. At the time of writing, they are one of the leading contenders for the Champions League.

Guardiola arrived as the best coach in the world and despite a disappointing first season, he is now backing up that reputation. There were a few that were too quick to write him off. The Spaniard deserves to be applauded for taking the job at the Etihad Stadium as it was a lot tougher than it was made out to be. He has dominated with two historically world class clubs, but he is now writing a new name into the European elite.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Bristol City

Sam McQueen linked but losing Joe Bryan would hurt Bristol City

The Englishman has been at Ashton Gate since 15 years of age.

Josh Kerr

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Joey Bryan
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Bristol Post, Bristol City are being linked with Southampton‘s Sam McQueen as the club’s replacement for full-back Joe Bryan, meaning the South-West club could be preparing for life without the 24-year-old, who has made over 229 appearances for the club.

The Robins ultimately look set to lose Bryan during the summer transfer window with Burnley, Everton and Aston Villa all keen on signing the left-back. With only a year left on his contract at Ashton Gate, the club could be tempted to cash-in for the home grown defender, for a fee of around £6 million.

Despite McQueen being a sensible replacement for City, his arrival wouldn’t quite soften the blow of losing Bryan, who has quickly established himself as one of the best all-round defenders in the EFL Championship.

The full-back has been with the side since he was 15 years of age and has gone on to become one of their most important players. Many will remember the 24-year-old’s wonder strike to help beat Premier League giants Manchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, after a display that saw him named man-of-the-match.

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Losing a player of his calibre will not help the club’s attempts to challenge for the play-offs next season. Considering the club were in contention for a top two place as recently as Christmas, it is difficult to comprehend the board selling one of their best players.

The Robins sat second in the Championship during the festive period but went on to finish a disappointing 11th after only picking up 20 points from their final 22 games.

Lee Johnson reportedly sees McQueen, who was told he can quite St Mary’s this summer, as the most likely replacement for Bryan this summer, if the right offer comes in for the latter’s services.

The Saints defender played 22 times in the 2017/18 season, mostly from the bench, but is a player who could definitely prove his worth.

At 23, he still has years to improve and with a full Championship season under his belt, he could emerge a shrewd replacement for long-term servant Bryan.

However, the news won’t float well with City fans who would prefer to keep their homegrown player, rather than attempt to replace him.

Nonetheless, with a year left on his contract, cashing in on the £6 million talent, while bringing in Sam McQueen, could prove a smart piece of business from the Robins.

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West Bromwich Albion

West Brom’s Nacer Chadli very fortunate to make Belgium World Cup squad

The Belgian’s inclusion in Roberto Martinez’s World Cup side came as a surprise to many.

Josh Kerr

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Nacer Chadli
Photo: Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion attacking midfielder Nacer Chadli has been named in Roberto Martinez’s preliminary World Cup squad, much to the amazement of all Baggies fans.

The 28-year-old has rarely featured for Albion during their disastrous relegation season, with injury limiting him to just six appearances in all competitions for the club.

The Belgium international has even been included over Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who today also his international retirement after receiving the disappointing news.

Chadli is arguably the most fortunate player to be in Martinez’s World Cup squad, considering he only featured four times in the league for a team that was relegated in the most disastrous fashion.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The former Tottenham player has a relegation release clause of £17 million, so there’s a chance for him to sign for another club if he is able to show the quality that former Premier League manager Martinez has evidently seen in him.

Other notable names also in the Red Devils’ squad to take to Russia include Manchester City‘s Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, Chelsea‘s Eden Hazrd and Thibaut Courtois, and Liverpool‘s Simon Mignolet.

Many football supporters have taken to Twitter to highlight their disbelief to Chadli representing the Midlands side for Belgium in this summer’s World Cup in Russia. His inclusion sees him as one of just two current Baggies to represent the side in the summer tournament, along with Egyptian centre-back Ahmed Hegazi.

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Everton

A Marco Silva reunion at Everton is exactly what goal-shy Richarlison needs

The Brazilian has struggled for form since Everton-linked Marco Silva left the Hornets.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

Marco Silva has been heavily linked with the vacant Everton managerial job this week and, according to reports in the Daily Mail, the ex-Watford boss is set to hold further talks with the club in the coming days.

As a result of the Silva connections, Paddy Power’s odds suggest Everton are now the front runners to sign Watford winger Richarlison this summer.

The move could prove to be an ingenious way to revive Richarlison’s early-season brilliance under the manager who coaxed the best out of the mercurial Brazilian.

Both Richarlison and Silva enjoyed superb form when the two were together in the opening months of the 2017/18 campaign, and a reunion at Goodison Park would result in success.

The Portuguese manager steered the Hornets to an impressive start to the season that saw the club suffer just one defeat in their first eight league matches.

The Brazilian winger also hit the ground running at Vicarage Road, notching five goals and contributing three assists in his opening 12 Premier League matches.

However, the tide turned in the final months of 2017, as Richarlison scored his last league goal in November, and Silva won just one of his last 11 league matches before being sacked in January.

Richarlison clearly thrived under the management of Silva, and after the Portuguese departed the club, the winger scored and assisted a grand total of zero goals. But at only 21 years of age, the youngster has time on his side and is still adapting to English football.

Everton would do well to reconnect Marco Silva with Richarlison, and if the manager can get the best out of the Brazilian, the Toffees would attain the services of a top-class attacking talent who has many productive years in front of him.

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