Premier League: Manchester City threatening to pull away in title race


In what has been a rollercoaster season, Manchester City appear to have found the consistency that could well lead them to another Premier League title. 

The Premier League has had multiple leaders this season, with Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United amongst the sides to have sat at the summit of the English top flight at some point in the 2020-2021 campaign. 

However, these previous leaders have shown an infectious vulnerability at the top. It has been as if the responsibility of leading the league is a bit too heavy for them. 

Tottenham and Chelsea have collapsed spectacularly, and have both slipped out of the top four, with the latter feeling the need to change managers to address their alarming slump. 

Chelsea have since dismissed Frank Lampard and brought in former Paris St. Germain manager, Thomas Tuchel to steady the ship and lead them forward. 

While others struggle with the burden of leadership, Manchester City have embraced the challenge. City are beginning to take the title race by the scruff of the neck. 

They have hit an ominous streak in recent weeks, winning their last nine Premier League matches to rise to the top of the table. We all know about City's attacking prowess, but it is their defense that has stood out during this impressive run of form. 

There is the common saying that "defence wins you titles", and City are on a mission to yet again to justify those words. Pep Guardiola's men have kept a club record-equaling six consecutive clean sheets in the league, and have conceded just four goals in their last 20 matches in all competitions. 

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The summer signing of Portuguese defender, Ruben Dias has been a masterstroke, while the resurgence of John Stones has also been a major contributing factor. 

Stones has been so good that City's previous No. 1 centre-half, Aymeric Laporte can't even get into the team. With Nathan Ake also waiting in the wings, City have great depth and quality in the central defense. 

The fact that they are winning all of these matches without some of their best attacking players must be disconcerting to the chasing pack. 

Sergio Aguero has barely kicked a ball all season, while Kevin De Bruyne is currently in the middle of a short spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring problem. 

In Aguero's absence, City's forward players have shared the goals around, with six players scoring at least five goals this season. Raheem Sterling leads the way with ten goals, while Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan have each contributed nine goals. 

German midfielder Gundogan has been particularly impressive in recent weeks, stepping up magnificently to ensure that City do not miss De Bruyne. 

Not only has he been scoring goals, he has also been creating opportunities for his team mates on a regular basis, and has become an integral part of Guardiola's midfield. City now have a three-point lead over local rivals, Manchester United; they are five clear of Leicester and seven ahead of Liverpool. 

The leaders have played a match less than the other three teams in the current top four. Given the way this season has shaped up, nothing can be guaranteed. 

Who is to say that there won't be more twists and turns in the coming weeks? Who would have thought that champions Liverpool would suffer back-to-back home defeats to lowly Burnley and Brighton; and fail to score in three consecutive home league matches? City will know better than to get too carried away with their current run of good form. 

However, if anyone knows how to manage a title race, it is definitely Pep Guardiola. Manchester City will take some stopping from here.

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