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Can anyone stop Man City winning the Premier League?

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As Jose Mourinho hit back at criticism of his football, Pep Guardiola was letting his Manchester City side do the talking for him, recording a ninth win of the season at West Brom on Saturday afternoon. 

Whilst Mourinho told the media to 'calm down' and 'relax', City maintained their 5 point lead at the top of the Premer League with another impressive display.

It begs the question, can anyone actually stop them? Last season, City started in similar fashion, winning their opening six games before dismantling, however, there are obvious differences at the Etihad this term.

There are genuine contrasts from last season to suggest that previous failings will not be repeated. City have already kept 6 clean sheets this season, compared to just 1 this time last year.

Whilst there were never troubles in attack, City's defence last season was the big factor in their falling out of contention for the title. The signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson has bought a renewed confidence, in particular for John Stones who is now showing signs of being worth his £50 million price tag. 

The summer also saw Guardiola refreshing in the full-back positions. Whilst the likes of Kolarov and Clichy were immense servants for the club, their ageing legs struggled to cope with the demands of a modern day full back.

The signings of Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy (now out for the season) have allowed City to have a much needed youthful look on what was an ageing defence. 

City sit pretty at the top of the Premier League and it is difficult to see anyone removing them. They are 5 points clear of United, who last week lost at Huddersfield and were unconvincing in a 1-0 win against Spurs at Old Trafford. 

As well as United, Spurs and Chelsea will also hold title aspirations yet it is difficult to see any of them toppling City. They've all proved to be inconsistent and incapable of putting together winning runs.

Guardiola will be aware that it is not impossible though, after a slow start last year Chelsea won 14 games on the trot yet it would seem it'd require something very special for Antonio Conte's side to repeat anything similar this season. 

Saturday was City's eighth league win in succession and Sergio Aguero, a crucial linchpin in City's two title wins, was not even required to leave the substitutes' bench, such the strength in depth of the squad Guardiola has at his disposal. 

City has been free-flowing and at times mesmerising. They have netted at least 3 goals on 6 occasions, including an impressive 7 against Stoke, 6 away at in-form Watford and the 5-0 hammering of Liverpool last month. 

Arguably, it was City's 1-0 away at Chelsea earlier this month that is the most impressive. The performance showed real character and grit, something City lacked at times last season. 

It's still early days however this is a serious side. It is hard to see anything but a 3rd title at the Etihad. 

Image Credit - Duncan Hull, Flickr Commons

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