A fifteenth consecutive win sent Manchester City eight points clear at the top of the Premier League as they consigned Arsenal to a 3-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
David Silva’s brilliance, Ederson’s talents and the numbers behind City’s outstanding form are all considered by Club Journalist, Rob Pollard’s post-match talking points…
City were far from their best against Arsenal.
At times, their passing lacked tempo and the final ball let them down on a number of occasions. The free-flowing, ruthless football that we’ve seen so often this season wasn’t quite realised on Sunday.
Much of that comes down to their Champions League exertions on Wednesday.
Whereas Arsenal had rotated heavily for their Europa League game at home to Red Star Belgrade on Thursday, City played largely the same side that had worked so hard to beat Napoli on Wednesday in what was perhaps their toughest match of the season so far.
It’s understandable if they were feeling somewhat lethargic going into the game against Arsene Wenger’s side given the effort they had expended beating the Serie A leaders.
But, of course, those are the reasons that make the victory so impressive.
For City to beat a top-six side so comfortably, despite showing the effects of a tough midweek assignment, will worry the rest of the Premier League.
City were rarely troubled, enjoying the majority of possession and restricting Arsenal to few clear-cut chances.
It wasn’t a vintage performance but that, more than anything, is what was so impressive about the three points.
David Silva delivered a virtuoso display against the Gunners, orchestrating City’s best moments with his slick passing and supplying an assist for Gabriel Jesus’ tap in.
At his best, there’s no finer sight in English football and the opposition barely laid a glove on him on all afternoon.
With pace in wide areas and willing runners all around him, Silva’s ability to find the right ball is so often a potent weapon in this side.
He now has seven assists in 11 Premier League appearances this term, as many as he did in the whole of 2016/17 (34 apps).
His assist against Arsenal was his fifth in his last seven Premier League appearances and his 71st since joining City in 2010.
He continues to amaze.
Signing of the summer?
Has there been a more important signing this season than Ederson?
The Brazilian has continually proven his worth and, at just 23, City have in their midst one of the best young goalkeepers in world football.
He didn’t have much to do at the Etihad Stadium – but his save from Aaron Ramsey was crucial, and his bravery and ability to pass the ball were also key.
He is a special talent who could offer years of service at the very highest level.
The numbers look very good
Sunday’s win saw City move 12 points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal and eight ahead of Manchester United in second.
City’s 31 points and +31 goal difference is the best start to a Premier League season after 11 games, and in a run stretching back into last season, City are currently on a 23-game unbeaten sequence.
And their 52 goals in 17 matches in all competitions is a record for a Premier League Club after 17 games.
If there was one blot on the weekend copy book, it was Nicolas Otamendi’s yellow card.
It was his fifth of the season, meaning he’ll miss the trip to Leicester City when the Premier League resumes after the international break.
His partnership with John Stones has been rock solid this season, his absence could provide Vincent Kompany, if fit, with an opportunity to return to the fold.