Pep Guardiola’s glorious Manchester City can dominate Premier League for years to come
Manchester City produced a breathtaking performance of attacking football in the 6-1 drubbing of Huddersfield that suggests the Premier League is already a foregone conclusion, writes Desmond Kane.
Start as you mean to go on. David Silva walked onto the pitch holding his baby son Mateo before embarking upon an afternoon of child’s play. Hammering poor helpless Huddersfield into the ground at the Etihad Stadium with a quite sumptuous Sunday roast was as simple as taking candy from a baby.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are defending Premier League champions and 2019 champions-in-waiting. You can probably already pencil them in for 2020 and 2021 such is the quality of this squad of multi-millionaires, who work, rest and play like they are chasing their next meal. As long as the Abu Dhabi ownership keep Pep humoured, the world is their oyster.
Forget about Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham or, adding a little touch of satire, Arsenal, already felled 2-0 by City a week ago, launching some kind of title challenge. They are all playing for second place behind a City side that are showing remarkable similarities to Barcelona's 2011 Champions League-winning vintage under Pep. That is not hyperbole. This monstrous City winning machine are improving after hitting 100 points last season. For them, conquering Europe is the final frontier, but that is a debate for the weeks and months ahead.
For now, domestic bliss is something to behold.
Pep Guardiola enjoyed Manchester City's 6-1 win over Huddersfield. Eurosport
The feel-good factor of Silva proudly showing off his healthy baby boy who arrived prematurely last December was seized upon by City’s swashbuckling band of football globetrotters, who decided to use their opening home game of the new campaign to treat their fans to an exhibition of passing, engaging football. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. And lovely, lovely goals.
There was nothing premature about City’s opening goal. The evergreen Aguero hoisted the ball over the browbeaten Ben Hamer from a delightful radar-like ping from goalkeeper Ederson and into the empty net on 25 minutes..
City have spent £411.55m to fund Guardiola’s ambition since 2016, but you do not need to wonder where the dough has gone. It is all there in a technical masterclass of Blue Moon brilliance. There was even a bloke hoovering up the Huddersfield technical area at half-time when he could have been better deploying picking up the pieces of their broken spirit with the home side more in the mood than the Hacienda’s heyday
City continued to rip into Huddersfield with an appetite for destruction that was delivered with more gusto than Guns n Roses. The gifted Gabriel Jesus scored a second goal before Aguero punished another Hamer horror error in the visiting goal to make it three. Jon Gorenc Stankovic appeared surprised to score a consolation moments before half-time, but it was brief respite.
On his 250th appearance in the Premier League, Silva, with less hair than little Mateo, flighted a fourth into the visiting rigging with an unstoppable free-kick from distance on 48 minutes before departing to a standing ovation 16 minutes later.
Aguero then converted his hat-trick with a deft flicked finish from the magnificent Benjamin Mendy’s cross on 75 minutes. Mendy's three assists in the Premier League is more than any other player.
With Sane let loose in the closing moments, City celebrated a sixth on 84 minutes via an unfortunate own goal by Terence Kongolo.
The only criticism that could be made of City is that they only declared on six. Some excellent stops by the inundated Hamer and a few obvious misses halted the score from hitting double figures with City enjoying 77 percent of possession and revelling in 32 shots at goal.
They did not need the emergency reserves of a bench worth an astonishing £243.9m. Kevin de Bruyne is out for three months with a knee injury, but Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker did not start. And were not needed. Such are the riches which City deploy in their squad and off the pitch.
With Aguero, Silva and Vincent Kompany looking as fresh as when they lifted the Premier League six years ago, City reminded the rest why this season will be another procession in the world’s richest league.
We are only two games into the new season, but the destination of the Premier League is not in doubt. How many points City will win it by, and who finishes second is the only debate worth having.