Next in our series of the Premier League’s greatest teams comes the Manchester City centurions team from the 2017/18 team. Many regard this team as THE greatest of all – they broke record right and left, playing an absolutely scintillating brand of football in the process.
Story of the season
Over the course of the season, Pep Guardiola was given license to spend money at will to complete his team to challenge for the Premier League title. In total, City spent a whopping £267.35million with French defender Aymeric Laporte the standout move of the bunch, costing a club record £57m in the January window.
During the summer window, Guardiola added some key components to his team, not least the ball-playing goalkeeper he had attempted to sign in Claudio Bravo a year previous. This time, City got the decision just right as they signed Brazilian shot-stopper Ederson from Portuguse side Benfica.
After that, they then spent big on full-backs, bringing in Kyle Walker from Spurs for £45m, French left-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco for £50m and Brazilian right-back Danilo from Real Madrid for £26.5m. Just to take the p*ss that little bit more, they also added the brilliant midfielder Bernardo Silva from Monaco for £43m.
With all of those brand spanking new additions, plus a raft of superstars already within the club, the season was poised to be a great one. They got off to a fantastic start too, picking up a whopping 62 points from the first 64 available to them in the season.
Over the course of the season, City would beat every single team in the league at least once, dropping points in just seven games all season long. The two games they lost came against Liverpool and Manchester United – both of which were stunningly entertaining and high scoring affairs.
City romped to the Premier League title, breaking all sorts of records in the process. Most impressively, they smashed the points record, set by Chelsea in 2004/05. The previous total, which was 95 points, was well beaten as City surpassed the 100 point mark, recording a total of 101 points.
They also broke the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League season with 106, toppling another Chelsea record – this one set in the 2009/10 season. In all, only Crystal Palace and Huddersfield managed to stop City from scoring all season, both managing to hold the Citizens to a goalless draw on their own patch.
City’s dominance in the 2017/18 season is not to be understated, so here’s a full list of all the records they broke during over an incredible year:
Earliest title win
City’s claiming of the title with five matches to go equals the record that was set by Manchester United in 2000/01.
Biggest winning margin
City finished 19 points clear of Man Utd, whose record they have broken. United ended 18 points clear at the top in 1999/00.
Most consecutive PL victories
The 18-match winning run that City enjoyed between victory at AFC Bournemouth on 26 August and the 1-0 win at Newcastle United on 27 December broke two records: the record of 13 consecutive wins in the same campaign, held jointly by Arsenal (2001/02) and Chelsea (2016/17); and Arsenal’s overall record of 14 consecutive league victories, achieved between February and August 2002.
Most consecutive away wins
The victory at Newcastle was also City’s 11th away win in a row, a sequence that started on 21 May last season. That matched the record set by Chelsea between 6 April 2008 and 7 December 2008.
Biggest share of away possession
City had 82.13 per cent of possession at Everton on 31 March, the highest by an away team in a PL match since these records began.
Most opponents beaten
City have beaten all the other 19 PL teams this season, becoming only the third side to do so after Man Utd, in 2010/11, and Chelsea, in 2005/06.
Fewest minutes trailed
City were behind in matches for a total of only 153 minutes, the fewest by a side in a single campaign.
Most successive Manager of the Month awards
Guardiola was named Barclays Manager of the Month four times in a row between September and December, a first.
Quickest to a century
With their four goals against West Ham United, City recorded 102 goals in 35 matches, the quickest a Premier League side has reached a century of goals in a single campaign. It is the fourth time 100 goals has been scored in a PL season, following Chelsea in 2009/10 and Man City and Liverpool in 2013/14.
City are the only team in English top-flight history to reach 100 points in a single season. They reached that century with a stoppage-time winner at Southampton, which came after they beat Brighton & Hove Albion in their previous match to break Chelsea’s record of 95 points set from 2004/05.
Most away points
With the final-day win over Southampton, City also surpassed Chelsea’s 48 away points picked up in 2004/05. Pep Guardiola’s side finished on 50 points on their travels.
Most total wins
That victory over Saints was City’s 32nd of the campaign, moving them further ahead of the mark of 30 recorded by Chelsea last season. Man City are the first team to win 32 matches in a single English top-flight season.
Most away wins
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea of 2004/05 won 15 matches away from home, another feat that City surpassed on the final day with their 16th away victory.
City scored 106 goals, beating that of Chelsea’s 103 scored in the 2009/10 campaign.
Best goal difference
City’s goal difference of +79 is eight better than the previous best set by the Chelsea team of 2009/10 who finished with +71.
*All of these statistics and descriptions taken from PremierLeague.com
The Manchester City Centurion team…
Now, given the sheer depth and quality of this team, Guardiola rotated his team quite a lot. Normally this is where I’d post a picture of their normal starting XI but it changed so much in the 17/18 season that I’ve just had to pick one game and go with that.
Here’s the City team that lined up for the 3-0 win at the Emirates just a few days after City had beat Arsenal at Wembley in the EFL Cup final.
All throughout the team there are players there who could, and regularly would, be interchanged with a player of equal, or perhaps even better, quality. For example, Sergio Aguero up top could be replaced by Gabriel Jesus at any point.
The central defenders Aymeric Laporte and Vincent Kompany would regularly be replaced by John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi. Danilo at left-back would switch with Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabian Delph, or Mendy when he was fit.
Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan would change with the brilliant Brazilian Fernandinho. Then, in the attack, Raheem Sterling would normally be in the team either on the left or the right in place of one of the two wingers.
The sheer strength in depth in this City team is the one main thing that sets them apart from most other teams throughout Premier League history. Guardiola could make a whole 11 changes for a game and still field a team capable of winning the Premier League – the team was genuinely that good.
In terms of output, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling led the way in the goal-scoring charts with Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane not far behind them.
This Manchester City team were a pleasure to watch from start to finish in the 2017/18 season. Despite having the league wrapped up quicker than anyone has ever done it in the past, City still made it an entertaining season with their beautiful football style coming to the fore.
Pep Guardiola assembled one hell of a team, the majority of whom were still there in the next season as they just about pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title, racking up another incredible points tally.
Even now, a lot of those players are still around but for some reason, they seem to have lost their way. For me, a major part of that is the lack of Vincent Kompany in the team – they lost their leader, and it has shown on the pitch in some of the tougher games.
Either way, this team was full to the brim of absolute superstars and was, in my opinion, the greatest team of the entire Premier League era. The records they broke coupled with the way they played were just unbelievable – even more impressive than going a whole season unbeaten in my honest opinion…
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