Manchester City have pulled away at the top of the Premier League with a hard-earned 3-0 victory over a valiant Burnley. Guardiola’s machine is now 5 points clear of Manchester United, with Mourinho’s men faltering to a 2-1 defeat against Huddersfield. “[Y]ou can accept losing because the opponent had more quality, but not because the opponent had more attitude” Mourinho humbly vented after the end of a frustrating Saturday. His analysis was very telling; not only regarding the Huddersfield match, but the wider implications Saturday holds for the battle for first place.
City’s quality and attitude have seen them soar above the rest of the Premier League pack thanks to another solid Premier League outing, this time with Sean Dyche’s men as unfortunate victims. In spite of the 3-0 scoreline, the game was far from a walk in the park, with Agüero only able to break the deadlock through a penalty after 30 mins of excellent Burnley defending. The Clarets had a couple of good chances to get back into the game in the second half with Burnley new-boy Chris Wood breaking free after an excellent run into the City penalty. Ederson’s block kept the scoreline temporarily out of contention. That was, until a two-minute Otamendi-Sané scoring streak saw City claim all three points.
As it stands, Guardiola’s men remain the only unbeaten team in the league, sitting top of the standings with 25 points out of 27. The team are currently riding a 7-win streak and have accumulated an exorbitant +28 goal difference with both the most goals in the league scored and the least conceded – 32 and 4 goals respectively.
Meanwhile, Manchester United have only themselves to blame for the biggest upset of this Premier League campaign. Mourinho’s men fell at the Kirklees Stadium and were beaten 2-1 by a diligent Huddersfield side. The Terriers, thanks to Mooy’s and Depoitre’s efforts, fired two past De Gea in quick succession during the first half and despite United’s quality upfront, they were unable to match the determination of their fellow Northerners. Marcus Rashford’s 78th minute header made for an engaging last 15 minutes, yet ultimately the Reds lacked the willpower often seen during ‘Fergie time’.
The weekend’s results prompt the question, do the Sky Blues already have their hands on the big piece of silverware? Can anybody stop Manchester City? Or was this simply a rare slip-up from an otherwise consistent United? These are only some of the questions that arise with a quarter of the season now in the books.