With four games to go in the Premier League season, the globetrotting Manchester City are set to break an incredible amount of records, making it (statistically) the best ever season by a club since the Premier League began in 1992.
They currently sit on: 34 games, 29 wins, 90 points, 98 goals. With games against West Ham, Huddersfield, Brighton and Southampton to come, they’re almost to certain to break the following records (holders in brackets):
- Most wins (30, Chelsea 2016/17)
- Most goals (103, Chelsea 2009/10)
- Most points (95, Chelsea 2004/05)
It’s compelling stuff – stats your bandwagon-jumping mate who supports City is almost certainly to wheel out in the pub. He’ll also say he supported them before the rivers of oil money began to flow (even in 2006/07 when Joey Barton was the season’s top-scorer with seven goals. SEVEN) but no one is buying that. Do stats alone decide the best ever EPL team? Of course not. Has the competition at the top been as strong this season as other years? Hard to say, but arguably not. So where does this City side stand against the other great Premier League sides?
It’s a debate that has raged in the UK for the past month or two, reeling in some big-fish opinions.
United 2006-11 won multiple leagues , won CL and reached 2 finals and had @Cristiano ( best player in the world in 08 @WayneRooney @rioferdy5 vidic , Scholes / Giggs / Tevez etc. The two teams you’ve suggested are nowhere near this team!! https://t.co/l0Bw04Adfj
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 12, 2018
Pitting teams from one era against another is arguably a futile task. But so is a lot of things in sport, so here goes: The top five Premier League teams.
- Manchester United 2007/08
This was the Cristiano Ronaldo season. 46 games, 42 goals, and a starring role in both the League and Champions League-winning sides. With Rio Ferdinand partnering Nemanja Vidic at centre-back, and Edwin van der Sar at his peak between the sticks, it was also a side that were as brilliant without the ball as with it. This was an era where English club football was clearly the best in the world (English sides made up three out of the four Champions League semi-finalists for three consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2009), and United rose to the top consistently.
- Chelsea 2004/05
Much like the influx of money at City has paid dividends, the arrival of Roman Abramovic at Chelsea moved them from a good to brilliant side quickly. In the summer of 2004, the Russian billionaire signed Jose Mourinho as manager, along with Petr Cech, Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben. Shrewd gets. This side lost just one game this season, and Stamford Bridge was a venue almost impossible to get a result. In fact, the club extended an unbeaten run at home under Mourinho to 86 games (ending in 2006). It was also a time when Mourinho was seen as quirky – a bit of an enigma in the English press. That perception has now changed almost as much as his hair colour.
- Manchester City 2017/18
It is the mark of a great team when opposition fans genuinely enjoy watching you play. And that has been the case with City this season. Their pace and skills are equally stunning as terrifying, and they’ve moulded into the ‘Guardiola way’ with conviction. But while you could safely say they’ve been the most stylish Premier League side ever, a Champions League battering to Liverpool and an embarrassing FA Cup loss to Wigan means they walk away with *only* the league title. We say ‘only’ because it could have been a history making season for City. Still utterly brilliant, but not as good as the next two.
- Arsenal 2003/04
Like City, finished with just one title but with one key difference – they went undefeated throughout the entire season. The feat of ‘The Invincibles’ may never be beaten and remains Arsene Wenger’s greatest achievement to date. Names like Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Vieira all lit up Highbury in what was a team that current Gunners fans would give their collective limbs for. The rivalry with Manchester United reached boiling point during this season, too, in a couple of heated battles, typified by the ongoing Vieira v Roy Keane feud.
49 #PL games unbeaten 👏
Top-flight record broken ✅
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018
- Manchester United 1998/9
Football is about trophies, and this side won them all (at least the ones that matter) this season. The treble winning side capped League and FA Cup triumphs with a last-gasp Champions League win that will live long in the memory. This is the United side that made kids all over the world start supporting them – the white collared, ‘Sharp’ sponsored kit was now seen everywhere. It was also a United side who played with flair (setting a precedent the current side is struggling to maintain) with Giggs screaming down the wing, Scholes pulling strings in the middle and Dwight Yorke/Andy Cole banging them in up front. Oh and they were surely the most-picked side when playing FIFA 99 on PS1. Here’s one for nostalgia’s sake.