The last few weeks have seen Manchester City climbing back to the top of the Premier League table. They had a very successful holiday period and carried that momentum through January.
Pep Guardiola’s squad now sits atop the standings with a game in hand on the second and third place clubs. They have won nine consecutive matches since back to back draws in mid-December. Their 2-0 victory over Burnley on Wednesday was their sixth straight clean sheet. Next up is a trip to Anfield to face reigning champions, Liverpool.
Manchester City Climbing the Table
Title Rivals Stumble
After match week 13, Guardiola’s squad was scuffling in ninth place. They had just five wins from 12 matches and were allowing a goal a game. However, they have not lost since.
The last month and a half has seen Manchester City climbing the table three points at a time. The improvements in defence have been the most noticeable. This club has only allowed one goal during their nine-match win streak. The Citizens are three points clear at the top of the table with that game in hand.
One of the biggest reasons for City climbing to the top of the table is the play of Ilkay Gundogan. The midfielder is in the form of his life currently. He has seven goals in his last ten Premier League starts. Gundogan has made 16 appearances this season and City are yet to lose when he plays. His play in the centre of the pitch has been instrumental to the current nine-match win streak, especially with Kevin De Bryune out injured for the last few of those.
The German international has taken control in midfield, forming a nice balance with the more defensive-minded Rodri. Gundogan’s passing during build-up play and his current goal scoring form have him playing as well as anyone in England’s top flight.
Raheem Sterling is also enjoying a very productive run of form. He has three goals and an assist in the last five matches. His seven league goals are tied with Gundogan for the team lead. Gabriel Jesus is also finding his footing after an injury slowed him to start the season. The Brazilian has scored in each of the past two matches. He has also netted all four competitions he’s played in this campaign. Having Sterling and Jesus firing in front of goal at the same time is a scary proposition for opponents.
Chaos is a Ladder
It has been an unpredictable season so far with stunning results occurring every week. The chaos has been entertaining from a fan perspective, but trying to discern who the legit contenders are is a difficult task. Each of the other three teams currently in the top four has dropped points in at least two of their last five games.
Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Everton, and Manchester United have all made a run that landed them on top of the table. They have also all had a stretch in which they dropped points and have fallen from their perch. City struggled to begin the season, with a few too many draws. Now they are streaking past their titles rivals, watching them drop points as they secure top position.
Back to Front
The pairing of Jon Stones and Ruben Dias has solidified the Man City defence. The two centre backs have helped lead this club to 11 clean sheets in the past 13 matches. Combining that with the current form of Gundogan, Sterling, and Jesus in attack, it is not a surprise to see Man City climbing up the table and distancing themselves from other contenders. This club has put itself in the driver’s seat to lift their third Premier League trophy in the past four seasons. Avoiding the poor stretches that have plagued other clubs in the past few months is the key moving forward.
This team is still competing on four different fronts, but they have shown they have the depth and talent to handle it. The road toughens over the next month, with five of the next six fixtures against clubs in the top seven. If this blistering run of results continues, Man City could have one hand on the title by the time the calendar hits March. However, if they slip up in the next few weeks, they could be dragged down into the chaos that has surrounded the Premier League all season.