MX23RW : Thursday, November 30 15:02:10| >> :120:4451:4451:
[monks data]
Manchester City logo
Champions League | Final
Jun 10, 2023 at 8pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Inter logo
Man City
1 - 0
Inter Milan
Rodri (68')
Ederson (90+4'), Braut Haaland (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Barella (59'), Lukaku (83'), Onana (90+2'), Inzaghi (90+6')

Manchester City treble would be fitting reward for English football's greatest team

Manchester City treble would be fitting reward for English football's greatest team
© Reuters
Ahead of treble-chasing Manchester City's Champions League final, Sports Mole looks at why Pep Guardiola's men already deserve to be regarded as English football's greatest team.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are the greatest team English football has ever seen.

That statement will likely draw contrasting reactions from football fans; some would nod in agreement, others may reserve judgement until after Saturday's Champions League final against Inter Milan, while others will reject it and instead extol the valid virtues of the other teams in the conversation.

The main remaining argument against Man City sitting at the top of that list of luminaries is their lack of success in Europe, and it is an argument which does hold some weight.

Liverpool's team from 1976 to 1984 dominated both at home and abroad, winning seven league titles and four European Cups; the standout achievement of Manchester United's class of 1998-99 was their Champions League glory; United's 2008-11 vintage may well have won more had they not been around at the same time as Guardiola's Barcelona - quite possibly the greatest club team to have ever existed.

Andy Cole celebrates with the Champions League trophy in 1999© Reuters

Yet it is possible to be the best England have ever had without ever being the best in Europe, although Man City have arguably held that unofficial title for a number of seasons even if they have not been able to translate it into the all-important trophy to prove it.

Few would argue against Arsenal's Invincibles, Jose Mourinho's first Chelsea team or the Busby Babes being included in the conversation of England's greatest ever teams, yet none of them were crowned European champions.

Victory over Inter Milan would underline Man City's claim and obliterate the biggest counter-argument, but even if they once again fall at the final hurdle on the biggest stage, they still deserve to be regarded as the best England has ever produced.

Man City's relentlessness and pursuit of perfection is something we have never seen before on these shores.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola poses with the trophy as he celebrates after winning the Premier League on May 21, 2023© Reuters

There have only been 15 winning runs of 12 matches or more in the history of the Premier League, and Guardiola's Man City have been responsible for five of those - including one in each of the last three seasons.

Indeed, in only one of the last six campaigns have Man City failed to go on a winning streak of at least 12 games, while that timeframe includes two runs of 15 successive victories and a record-setting 18-match winning run too.

Those are staggering numbers, yet they have become accepted as the norm with Man City; Arsenal fans were so reluctant to really begin believing in the 2022-23 title race because they knew that Guardiola's team were likely to go on the sort of run which, before the Spaniard came along, were incredible occurrences.

Of course, that is exactly what happened as City unerringly hunted down the Gunners to win yet another title - their third in a row to join a select group of teams to have recorded an English top-flight three-peat.

Chelsea players give Manchester City players a guard of honour on May 21, 2023© Reuters

Huddersfield Town (1923-26), Arsenal (1932-35), Liverpool (1981-84), Manchester United (1998-2001) and Manchester United again (2006-09) are the only clubs to have previously won three successive English top-flight titles, with City joining that elite group this term.

Over a slightly longer period, Man City have now won five titles in six years. In the history of English football, only Liverpool from 1978-84 and Man United from 1995-2001 can match such an era of dominance; both of those teams' records also extended to seven titles in nine seasons.

The Citizens will once again be heavy favourites to win the title yet again next season, and should they manage it then they would become the very first team in the 136-year history of the English league to win it four times in a row.

Again, though, that would only be further evidence to an already compelling case, and what makes Man City's domestic dominance all the more impressive is the competition which they have faced during that time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on April 10, 2022© Reuters

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have not been mentioned among the nation's greatest teams in this article so far - after all, how can they be the greatest ever when they are not the greatest of their own generation? - but their points tallies and trophy haul put them right up alongside other contenders, and they would arguably sit at the top of the pile themselves had they not had the misfortune of coinciding with this Man City team.

Indeed, four of the nine biggest points hauls in Premier League history have been achieved by Klopp's Liverpool, yet that has only translated into one title due to Man City's own brilliance.

Since Guardiola arrived in England, Liverpool have reached three Champions League finals, Tottenham Hotspur have reached one and Chelsea have reached and won one - something Man City fans will not need reminding.

Further down the ladder, Manchester United have reached two Europa League finals in that time, Arsenal have reached one, and Chelsea have again reached and won one. West Ham United can now also add their name to that list of recent European trophy winners from the Premier League too.

Chelsea celebrate with the Europa League trophy in 2019© Reuters

That shows that the competition City is coming up against domestically includes some of the best teams in Europe, yet they have routinely managed to rack up points tallies that were hitherto unheard of.

A unprecedented 100-point return in 2017-18 stands alone in English football history, but they also won 98 points one year later to pip Liverpool to the title by a point - two of the top three highest points tallies ever in this country.

In comparison, their 89-point tally to win the title this season looks rather paltry by their usual standards, and yet it is still a full 10 points more than Man United amassed in their treble-winning campaign.

On top of those relentless hauls, Guardiola's Man City also hold or jointly-hold the Premier League records for most wins in a season (32), most home wins in a season (18), most away wins in a season (16), most consecutive wins (18) and most consecutive away wins (12).

Manchester City players celebrate Ilkay Gundogan's goal against Manchester United on June 3, 2023© Reuters

Not only do they pick up more wins and more points than anyone else, they also score more goals too; Pep's side are responsible for two of the three - and four of the top eight - highest-scoring seasons in Premier League history, including top spot with 106 goals from their centurion campaign.

Man City have been tested in a number of different ways too, being forced to win the title by a single point ahead of Liverpool twice - while both teams racked up points tallies of 90+ - yet they also possess two of the top four biggest winning margins for titles in Premier League history, including the biggest of the lot when they finished 19 points clear of second place.

Such a clear gap between first and second could naturally lead to questions over the level of competition, but incredibly second place in that 2017-18 campaign still amassed more points than Man United needed to win the title in 1998-99.

Indeed, in all but one of Man City's title-winning campaigns under Guardiola, the runners-up also picked up more points than Man United's treble winners.

Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Cup on June 3, 2023© Reuters

Man City's dominant dynasty has undoubtedly come in the face of stiff competition, then, and it is a similar story in the cup competitions too - over the last six years, Man City have averaged one cup triumph every season, lifting the FA Cup twice and the EFL Cup four times during that spell.

Even aside from the compelling statistics, it is Man City's playing style which elevates them above anything we have seen before in this country.

That of course comes down to the innovation and genius of manager Guardiola, who on Saturday is bidding to become the first manager in history to win the treble twice, having also achieved it with his great Barcelona team.

Whether the Spaniard yet deserves to be regarded as the greatest manager in English football history is a debate for another time - Sir Alex Ferguson would certainly have something to say about it - but the debate may already be over regarding whether he has sculpted the best team we have ever seen.

ID:515932:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect13095:No Data Analysis info
Game History

How you voted: Man City vs Inter Milan

Manchester City
Inter Milan
Collect / Create New Data
Share this article now:
RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol pictured during the warm up before the match on March 14, 2023
Read Next:
Manchester City planning Josko Gvardiol move?
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free match previews newsletter! Updates are sent twice a week.
rhs 2.0
Man City 2023-24 kit with 'DJ Grealo'
MLS Apple TV+ Messi promo
Today's games header
Tables header RHS

Group A

4Man Utd51134

Group B


Group C

QReal Madrid550015
4Union Berlin50232

Group D

QReal Sociedad532011
QInter Milan532011

Group E


Group F

4AC Milan51225

Group G

QMan City550015
QRB Leipzig53029
3Young Boys51134
4Red Star50141

Group H


Man City 2023-24 kit with 'DJ Grealo'
MLS Apple TV+ Messi promo
New Apple Music general promo - 300x250

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sports Mole provides in-depth previews and predictions for every match from the biggest leagues and competitions in world football.
Argentina's Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after collecting the Golden Ball award on December 18, 2022Sign up for our FREE daily preview newsletter direct to your inbox!