Man City v Man Utd: Players deserve all the credit – Pep Guardiola

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‘Impossible’ for Man City to replicate this season – Guardiola

Manchester City’s players “deserve all the credit” for their achievements this season, says boss Pep Guardiola.

City host rivals Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 17:30 BST) knowing victory will clinch their third Premier League title.

With six matches left, it would be the earliest a team has won the competition in terms of the date and games played.

“It is almost done,” said Spaniard Guardiola. “I am so happy with what we have done so far.”

“We would like to feel that [the atmosphere] at home. The people can come like they have done all season, fill the stadium, and support the guys because they deserve it. They deserve all the credit.”

City have already won the Carabao Cup this term but were knocked out of the FA Cup by League One Wigan and trail Liverpool 3-0 after the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

With seven games remaining, Jose Mourinho’s United side are in second place, 16 points adrift of their neighbours, and they can spoil the party by avoiding defeat.

The Portuguese manager said: “It is easy to go to the books and to understand that with this number of points we would normally have been close most seasons.

“We are not because City have a good number of points. It is very difficult for the second to be fighting for the title, which we are not at this moment.

“We are in second position for many months. Our objective is to fight for that. My objective for Saturday is to try to have points to finish second.”

Is love blind to a City-United rivalry?

City to strike a century?

Title victory with most games remaining
Season Team Date Games remaining How?
2000-01 Manchester United 14 April 2001 5 Arsenal lost to Middlesbrough
2012-13 Manchester United 22 April 2013 4 United beat Aston Villa
1999-00 Manchester United 22 April 2000 4 United beat Southampton
2003-04 Arsenal 25 April 2004 4 Arsenal drew with Tottenham

After a trophyless first season in England, victory on Saturday would seal a seventh league title in three different countries for Guardiola after success at Spanish giants Barcelona and Germany’s Bayern Munich.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side of 2000-01 hold the record for the earliest Premier League title triumph when they won it with five games to go on 14 April.

Arsene Wenger’s 2003-04 Arsenal side – known as ‘the Invincibles’ after going the whole league season unbeaten – were crowned champions with four games to go on 25 April.

Guardiola’s side are on 84 points with the record tally also in their sights and very much achievable.

With 21 still on offer, City can afford to drop nine more points from now until the end of the campaign and still beat Chelsea’s 95-point haul from the 2004-05 season.

However, they can afford to drop only five points if they are to become the first team to break the 100-point mark.

What other records could City break?

Record Man City in 2017-18 Maximum available
Earliest title-winning date 14 April (Man Utd, 2000-01) Potentially 7 April
Most points 95 (Chelsea, 2004-05) 84 105
Most wins 30 (Chelsea, 2016-17) 27 34
Most home wins 18 (Chelsea, 2005-06; Man Utd, 2010-11; Man City, 2011-12) 14 18
Most away wins 15 (Chelsea, 2004-05) 13 16
Most goals 103 (Chelsea, 2009-10) 88
Biggest positive goal difference 71 (Chelsea, 2009-10) 67
Most away goals 48 (Liverpool, 2013-14) 37
Biggest title-winning margin 18 points (Man Utd, 1999-00) 16 37

Title battles across the continent…

There are some runaway leaders in the other four divisions in Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues (England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain) too…

With six games left in the 34-match season, the biggest margin is in Germany where Bayern Munich top the table knowing victory at Augsburg on Saturday will seal their 28th league title and their sixth in a row.

Bayern hold the record for the earliest title triumph in the Bundesliga, claiming the championship on 25 March in the 2013-14 season, under Guardiola, with seven games still to play.

Barcelona are unbeaten in La Liga so far this season

In France, Paris St-Germain are in first place, 17 points ahead of reigning champions Monaco and need five points from six games to lift the trophy.

PSG claimed the title in 2015-16 on 13 March with eight games remaining, ending the season with 96 points from their 38 games.

Barcelona remain the only unbeaten team in Europe’s major leagues, and hold a nine-point advantage over Atletico Madrid in Spain.

In the 1960-61 and 1962-63 seasons, Real Madrid won the title with five games remaining when the 16-team Spanish top flight contained 30 rounds of fixtures.

Italy is where we need to look for the tightest title race. Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus are just four point ahead of Napoli with eight games left.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are aiming to win the Serie A title for the first time since the Diego Maradona-inspired team of 1989-90.

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