Fun in the sun...
There was no raining on this parade as City ran out 4-0 winners for the second time in a week on Saturday afternoon.
Club journalist @markbooth_mcfc picks out five takeaways from this latest victory against Bournemouth…
1 Feel Good Factor
Alright lads, this is getting silly now.
Eight games, eight wins, 25 scored, four conceded… Pep Guardiola, we salute you.
This is City’s best-ever start to a season – indeed, only one manager in the history of the Premier League has won their first five domestic games.
Guardiola will have a chance to equal the start his Bayern successor Carlo Ancelotti made at Chelsea in Swansea next weekend but for now, let’s just drink in the unbridled joy and optimism surrounding City at the moment.
Gael Clichy spoke of the “feel good factor” permeating every area of the club in his post-match remarks and it was self-evident at the Etihad on Saturday that the party atmosphere in the stands transmitted to the pitch as the home side put on yet another sublime exhibition of attacking football.
There were flicks and tricks, no-look passes and moments of jaw-dropping, Olé-provoking individual skill but still, it’s the collective work rate coursing through every member of the City side that truly stays with you long after you leave the stadium.
Has there ever been a better time to be a Blue? It’s still only September of course but, while Pep and the players will turn their focus immediately to the EFL Cup, you’re forgiven a bit of giddiness on the evidence of this latest show.
"Messi is on a table on his own. No-one else is allowed. But the table beside, Kevin can sit there."
Pep led the plaudits for Saturday’s Man of the Match Kevin De Bruyne following a devastating performance from the Belgian playmaker.
2015/16’s Etihad Player of the Season could have stayed at the same level as last year and still shone in this much-improved City outfit but, on the strength of his start to the campaign, he’s actually evolved and it seems as though Pep has found a role which brings another dimension to his game.
It’s to Kevin’s immense credit that he gets through as much work as anyone else in the team but he’s still finding the energy to be the key player when City are on the front foot too – an assist and a goal in this 4-0 win only told half the story.
His figures since joining City are properly frightening… he has now had a direct hand in 34 goals in his 48 appearances (all comps) (18 goals, 16 assists).
3 He's Top of the League
Another goal and another assist for August’s EA Sports Premier League Player of the Month – Raheem Sterling will be in contention for September’s award at this rate.
The sight of the England winger driving at and committing defenders was a joy to behold on Saturday – frankly, we’re running out of superlatives for the 21-year old.
His manager is pleased with his performances too, as well as his increasingly low profile on social media.
Pep joked with journalists after the game: “I am so happy with Raz’s start… and he instagrams and tweets less.”
If Raheem had taken a quick look on his Twitter feed in the dressing room after the game, we reckon he might have liked what he found…
Raheem Sterling completed 10 take-ons vs. Bournemouth; more than any player in a Premier League game this season. pic.twitter.com/kKq2L6L8zy— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 17, 2016
As the fans put it, “oh Raheem Sterling, he’s top of the league!”
4 The Pathway
Pep has already shown that if you're good enough, you're old enough.
Tosin Adarabioyo, Angelino, Aleix Garcia, Angus Gunn and Pablo Maffeo were all part of the official team shot taken on Friday as they’ve all moved full-time to the CFA first-team centre in recent weeks.
Garcia was the latest to be handed a Premier League debut in the win over Bournemouth and he didn’t look out of place after he replaced De Bruyne in midfield for the closing minutes.
The talented Spanish youth international looked every inch a Guardiola player in pre-season and will be hoping for another opportunity to impress when City travel to Swansea on Wednesday night.
5 EFL Cup Defence
In previous seasons, the opening of our League Cup defence may have been seen as an opportunity to rest players and give experience to younger players away from the glare of the Premier League.
However, with this ruthless manager at the helm, the temptation may be to keep up momentum and to stay on this remarkable winning run.
While changes are likely to this XI, they might not be in the “wholesale” category, as Guardiola may value the opportunity to maintain this intoxicating feeling of invincibility surrounding his team.