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Give Manchester City the credit they deserve – They are the greatest team in English football history!



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In this week’s edition of his City Xtra column, Amos Murphy addresses the nonsense surrounding Manchester City’s historic fourth Premier League title in a row. 

There was sweating on the final day inside the Etihad Stadium, but for once it wasn’t because of events on the pitch. 

The glorious Mancunian sunshine provided the perfect backdrop to Manchester City’s historic Premier League title win, on what proved to be an uncharacteristically comfortable afternoon’s work. 

It started with a Phil Foden brace, whose lightning-quick start gave City a two-goal advantage inside 20 minutes. Mohammed Kudus’ overhead kick threatened to spoil the party, but as he often does, Rodri provided the finishing touch with a stylish third 30 minutes from time. 

Manchester City’s afternoon was routine, comfortable, and somewhat inevitable. Ironically, the complete opposite of their season as a whole… not that the masses will let you believe it. 

Jeopardy has emerged as the buzzword of the day, in particular, the perceived lack of it surrounding City’s fourth league championship in a row. 

That’s despite City’s entire Premier League campaign hinging on one individual moment from backup goalkeeper Stefan Ortega in the 85th minute of their penultimate game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur. 

Ortega’s save tilted the title back towards Manchester City, at a time when it looked as if Arsenal’s name would end up being engraved on the trophy. The West Ham match might’ve been comfortable, but the Spurs game – and five months that proceeded it – were certainly not. 

So it begs the question: Why are so many keen to downplay Manchester City and Pep Guardiola’s latest achievement?

The outstanding charges from the Premier League play a part. Regardless of the future outcome, it’s understandable why some might allow that particular episode to cloud their judgment. 

But the alleged 115 historical breaches of the English top-flight’s financial rules – something the club deny entirely – haven’t been responsible for Phil Foden’s emergence as the best player in the league. 

Nor were they responsible for Pep Guardiola’s tactical reshuffle after losing talisman Kevin De Bruyne in the opening game of the season.

Nor were they responsible for the Blues’ immense 23-game unbeaten streak, stretching all the way back to December 6th – a spell when defeat of any kind likely ruled Pep Guardiola’s side out of the title picture altogether. 

Manchester City’s greatness has been happening in real time. Yet, it hasn’t been an easy ride.

Only one of the four consecutive Premier League wins has been achieved with a points margin over five, that being the 2020/21 title, when Manchester City finished 12 clear of rivals Manchester United. 

But even then City sat ninth in November, having won just four of the opening nine games of the season. They had to fight adversity to claw themselves back into the title race, during a season that also included a League Cup win, an FA Cup semi-final and a maiden Champions League final appearance.

Since then, it’s been a one-point gap to Liverpool in 2021/22, five points over Arsenal in 2022/23 and two to the Gunners this time around.

That’s jeopardy. Once, twice, three times and now a fourth, all with plenty of feeling. And this year, more than another, has underlined the importance of togetherness within the Manchester City ranks. 

Pep Guardiola admitted recently that he questioned what was next after winning the treble in Istanbul. For a moment, as far as he was concerned, his task at Manchester City was complete.

That mentality quickly shifted, something reflected by the, ‘No team has ever won four consecutive Premier League titles… yet’ message printed on the wall in the boot room. 

Pep Guardiola quickly found his motivation. The players shortly followed. 

That’s the genius of the man. Whenever a question has been levelled at Guardiola during his City tenure, he’s come up with an answer. There’s nothing trivial about Manchester City’s four-in-a-row triumph. It hasn’t been an accident, nor was it expected.

Winning a Premier League title is hard. Winning four in a row was deemed impossible. And then Pep Guardiola arrived.

So to ignore it, wash it off as uninteresting, or claim it’s killing the league’s competitiveness ignores the fact that Manchester City are unquestionably the greatest team in English football history.