Manchester City have had a record-breaking start to the Premier League season.
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Winning nine of their first 10 games and still unbeaten, Pep Guardiola‘s men have racked up 28 points from a possible 30 and have scored 35 goals, while conceding just six.
Inevitably, talk has now switched to whether this City team can emulate Arsenal’s “Invincibles” of the 2003-04 campaign.
Their star playmaker, Kevin De Bruyne, put it bluntly when talking after their 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
“To go unbeaten? Well, it’s very hard. I don’t think it will be possible,” de Bruyne said. “The level of competition is so high, in every team. It’s not like, with all respect, 10 or 15 years ago where you have a couple of teams that won’t win against the top teams. Now, every game is hard and you need to be mentally there. And with the Champions League and all the cups, there will be a game where maybe we are a little bit less and maybe lose. But as long as it keeps going, it’s good.”
Way to lower the expectations, Kevin.
On a serious note, of course he’s correct. No disrespect to what Arsenal achieved over 12 years ago when they won the title with 26 wins and 12 draws in a season (simply incredible), but going unbeaten for an entire PL season now seems rather impossible. If anyone is going to do it this season it will be City. That much is true.
But with UCL and League Cup games coming thick and fast, then the FA Cup through the winter, the grueling nature of the PL is unforgiving, even for a team with so many talented players at its disposal. With the likes of Benjamin Mendy and Vincent Kompany already going down injured, Guardiola knows he must get lucky with the fitness of other star players to succeed in the PL and the Champions League.
With games against Napoli in the UCL this week and Arsenal in the PL on Sunday, Guardiola’s men know they must recover quickly from their victory at West Brom on Saturday and then finish the week strong before the international break.
City’s players have been in this situation before and could be accused of getting ahead of themselves last season. After winning 10-straight games to start the 2016-17 campaign, they struggled defensively during the winter months and their title bid was over by early Spring.
KDB’s comments prove that City’s players have perhaps learned from their mistakes last season.