Flying city must stay grounded

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling (left) celebrating with Kyle Walker after his 84th-minute winner against Huddersfield on Sunday. The England international, one of City's stars this season, has scored 12 goals in 18 games in all competitions, h
Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling (left) celebrating with Kyle Walker after his 84th-minute winner against Huddersfield on Sunday. The England international, one of City's stars this season, has scored 12 goals in 18 games in all competitions, his most prolific season yet.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Guardiola issues warning and reiterates it's impossible to match Arsenal's 'Invincibles'

LONDON • The most remarkable part of Manchester City's latest Premier League victory - a club-record 11th in a row - was that it was the first time since April 1995 that they had won a league match after trailing at half-time.

They will be glad, 11 managers on, to get rid of that little piece of club trivia. It is another measure, perhaps, of how the modern City now have stoutness and resilience to go with their many other gifts.

Manager Pep Guardiola hailed City as a team for all seasons as the league leaders survived a stern test at rain-lashed Huddersfield on Sunday to emerge 2-1 victors.

His side also re-established an eight-point lead over second-placed Manchester United thanks to a gritty second-half fightback at the John Smith's Stadium.

Trailing to Nicolas Otamendi's first-half own goal, City were in danger of a first defeat of the season against fired-up opponents on a freezing afternoon in Yorkshire.

It was exactly the kind of hostile environment that cynics claimed would be Guardiola's downfall when he arrived at City last season, following glittering spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

But to Guardiola's delight, City responded to the threat with Sergio Aguero's penalty equaliser shortly after half-time and a late Raheem Sterling winner in the 84th minute.

  • FIGURING OUT CITY'S STREAK
     

    It all began with the 0-0 English Premier League home draw with Manchester United on April 28 and, 26 matches later, Manchester City are still unbeaten in all competitions.

    23 WINS (18 IN A ROW)

    74 GOALS SCORED

    16 GOALS CONCEDED

    6 BIGGEST WIN (6-0 v WATFORD, SEPT 16)

    14 TOP SCORERS (SERGIO AGUERO & GABRIEL JESUS)


    ENGLISH CLUBS' LONGEST UNBEATEN RUNS IN ALL COMPETITIONS
     

    40 • Nottingham Forest (March to Dec 1978)

    33 • Man United (Dec 1998 to Aug 1999)

    28 • Preston North End (Sept 1888 to Sept 1889)

    • Everton (Dec 1984 to May 1985)

    • Arsenal (April to Nov 2007)

    26 • Man City (April 2017, ongoing)

    25 • Liverpool (March to Sept 1982)

"The Premier League is so tough, now winter has come, we knew they were so aggressive (and) so strong, but we are so happy for the way we won," the Spaniard said.

"We spoke at half-time about how to react, we spoke about not giving up, to keep going."

It was a milestone victory for City, who are the first team to claim 37 points from their opening 13 Premier League games.

City have also won their last 18 games in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 26 matches.

And for the first time in 22 years, they won an away league game after trailing at half-time - securing a club-record 11th successive away win in all competitions.

City are now favourites to win the title after Guardiola went without a trophy for the first time in his managerial career last season.

But he was quick to dismiss the notion that City could match Arsenal, who are the only side to finish a Premier League campaign unbeaten, and insisted that it was an "impossible" task.

"We are going to lose a game," Guardiola added. "Today was so close. With one game a week, you are less likely to drop points, but with three games a week and four competitions, it is impossible.

"Eighteen wins in a row is amazing, including 11 league wins in a row. We are in a good moment."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that he is worried his side will slip further behind City if they fail to get it right in the transfer market.

The Blues picked up a late point at Anfield but fell 11 behind City.

"City in this season are a strong team," said the Italian. "Also last season, they were a fantastic team. Then, after the transfer market, they bought their first targets and then they have improved a lot.

"They can do this also in January and maybe, in the future. For this reason, we must be worried ."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2017, with the headline 'Flying city must stay grounded'. Print Edition | Subscribe