Pep Guardiola doesn’t have to act like he’s been there before, because he’s been here before.
The Manchester City boss has now overseen 16-straight wins over domestic opponents after a 3-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday further distanced the leaders from the pack.
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Guardiola acknowledges how well his men have played in building a table lead that will stand between five and eight points depending on how Manchester United fares against West Brom (stop laughing), but he’s not getting out in front of his skis.
“Eleven games in-a-row in the Premier League is amazing but now have an incredible opportunity when no one plays but Everton and ourselves,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity to make another step. In February nobody will be champion. In March, no one. So enjoy tonight. Tomorrow recovery. Day off, then prepare for Everton.”
That’s a little disrespectful of Burnley v Fulham, but we know Pep meant “nobody” amongst the title contenders. The Everton match was rescheduled from earlier this season when a series of positive COVID-19 tests hit City (Watch live at 3:15pm ET Wednesday).
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Guardiola says that he disagrees with Jurgen Klopp conceding Liverpool’s Premier League title defense, saying he watched the Reds’ 3-1 loss to Leicester City and thinks there’s plenty of reason to respect the champions’ chances.
Of course, he says, that would mean City let go of the bit.
“From what I saw, the way they played today against Leicester, of course we have to lose games but of course they can do it,” Guardiola said. “It is the same Liverpool that I met in the last years but in the boxes they are not as clinical as they were before. Football is boxes and sometimes you have that period where you have to create more to score and every time they arrive they score.”
City knew it wouldn’t have Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero for a run of matches against Liverpool away, Spurs at home, Everton away, Arsenal away, and West Ham at home. So far, it’s a 7-1 combined scoreline so far with Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees up next.
If the win streak is alive after the Irons’ visit the Etihad, forget about anyone else taking the crown.