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CAN ANYBODY STOP MAN CITY?

ManCity

With each week that passes, it looks more and more like one team in the English Premier League is well on its way to leaving the others in the dust.

Manchester City defeated Arsenal 3-1 Sunday at the Etihad to keep a healthy lead atop the EPL table. The Sky Blues hold an eight point advantage over two teams level for second after Sunday's slate. Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 to move to 22 points, while Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to reach 23, where it's tied with Manchester United. Liverpool and Arsenal (and Burnley) sit below them level on 19 points. But as things stand, Chelsea, United and Tottenham appear to be the only teams capable of challenging City.

Even that is starting to come into doubt because City is so, so good. The positive offensive outlook instilled by Pep Guardiola combined with a stable of players capable of scoring goals from anywhere on the pitch makes it one of the most poised and potent attacking forces in the world. Every match, City comes out capable and ready to score three or four goals. In fact, the Sky Blues are averaging nearly 3.5 goals per match in the Premier League this season.

That attacking prowess guided them through to the win over Arsenal. Perhaps the most impressive thing about City from this match was the fact that the score wasn't the result of the all-too-common Arsenal bottlejob. The Gunners were competent and played within themselves, even scoring a good goal with tons of buildup finished by Alexandre Lacazette. City's attack was just too much for them.

Take the opening goal for example. It came as a result of a sustained assault on the Arsenal goal. Petr Cech made a fine save of Kevin De Bruyne in the buildup, but City remained poised and put the ball right back into attack again, confident in its ability to get another chance. Seconds later, De Bruyne had a goal, and City had a 1-0 lead.

The Sky Blues are undefeated with 10 wins and a draw through 11 Premier League matches. They also hold a double-digit goal differential advantage over other team in the league. It's difficult to bet against City to win the title at this moment because it still hasn't shown any flaws, unlike it's nearest title competitors.

Coming off the win over Manchester United, Chelsea looks the best of the top challengers. The Blues are the reigning champs and have shown up in big spots, with wins over United and Tottenham. But they've also lost games they had no business losing twice this season, to Burnley and Crystal Palace. Those are games you absolutely have to win to keep pace with a team as in-form as City.

United also has a dud on its resume in a loss to Huddersfield a few weeks ago. But its Achilles heel so far has been its performance against teams at the top of the table. Man U drew 0-0 with Liverpool, which was the result of a negative tactical decisions by Jose Mourinho. And although it was more positive in the loss to Chelsea, it still lacked the edge to score.

Tottenham's problem so far has been its performances in matches against other title competitors. Although Spurs have looked brilliant in pretty much every other Premier League match this season, they do have losses to both United and Chelsea on their resume. They're also on an amazing Champions League run at the moment, which could sap some attention away from the Premier League.

All the while, City is handling its business, week in, week out. The Sky Blues beat Chelsea, dominated Liverpool and did something in-between to Arsenal. Unless the other contenders in the league can fix their own flaws and force some out of City, there won't be a title race to speak of much longer.


Cy Brown writes about football, golf, soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.

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