Manchester City could win the QUADRUPLE, Ruben Dias is ‘like Virgil van Dijk’ and Pep Guardiola is working towards ‘perfection’ – Michael Owen and Co left purring as Premier League leaders go 10 points clear at the top with 3-1 win at Everton
Michael Owen, Lee Dixon and Eddie Howe waxed lyrical about Manchester City after they extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 10 points.
Pep Guardiola’s side widened their advantage over second-placed Manchester United after beating Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.
Phil Foden opened the scoring in the 32nd minute but the Toffees equalised just five minutes later through Richarlison. City made their dominance count in the second half as superb goals from Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva put the game beyond Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Manchester City extended their lead at the top of Premier League to 10 points on Wednesday
Michael Owen (R), Lee Dixon (C) and Eddie Howe waxed lyrical about City after win at Everton
Riyag Mahrez scored a stunning goal from the edge of the box as City sealed a 3-1 victory
The victory was City’s 17th win on the bounce and Amazon Prime’s pundits were left purring with former Liverpool and United striker Owen suggesting City can win the Quadruple this season.
‘They’re peaking at the right time,’ he said. ‘If you think about it, they’ve virtually won the Premier League, they’re in the final of the League Cup [Carabao Cup], they’re still in the FA Cup – a couple of big-hitters have gone out of that – and who’s going to put the Champions League past them? It is conceivable that they could win all four this season.’
Former Arsenal defender Dixon agreed that the title race is over,adding: ‘It’s done and dusted as far as I’m concerned. They’re just relentless and with [Sergio] Aguero coming back, defensively they’re very strong.’
City have always been blessed with a wealth of talent going forward but, at times, their defence has let them down in recent years. However this season they appear to have resolved their Achilles heel.
They splashed out £64million on Benfica centre half Ruben Dias and the colossal defender has helped transform City’s backline. Guardiola’s side have conceded just 15 league goals this campaign.
Dixon compared Dias’ influence on the City side to that of Virgil van Dijk’s at Liverpool when he joined from Southampton for £75m in January 2018.
Dixon compared Ruben Dias’ influence on the City side to that of Virgil van Dijk’s at Liverpool
‘I think there’s been a lot of emphasis on it [the defence] since Vincent Kompany left. There’s a lot of focus and a lot of things that are not right with the back four and it’s taken him a while to get it right,’ Dixon told Amazon Prime.
‘[John] Stones has been there five years now? When he first came to the club, he was learning his trade still. They spent a lot of money on him, seemed like he was coping with it and then he had that big dip in form, so it’s taken him a while to settle down and play. They’ve been waiting for him to hit the road.
‘And then [Ruben] Dias has come along and he’s been a little bit like [Virgil] van Dijk. They needed a centre back and he’s 23 years of age.
‘He’s been pulled into the team and he’s created a partnership with Stones now – I know he didn’t play tonight. [Aymeric] Laporte was a shoo-in, left side centre back for two years and now he can’t get a game in.
Howe insisted Pep Guardiola is constantly seeking ways to improve and reach ‘perfection’
‘When you have a partnership like theirs, the rest of it takes care of itself. Yes they are more defensive, but I can’t emphasise how good that partnership is.’
Guardiola refused to entertain title talk, insisting the ‘team is not thinking about the table… there are 42 points still to fight for’ on Wednesday night.
Eddie Howe, who came up against Guardiola when he was Bournemouth manager, insisted that the Spaniard is constantly seeking ways to improve and reach ‘perfection’.
‘With Pep, he continually evolves and changes his systems. He’s always thinking of the next game. He’s never satisfied but he’s working towards perfection,’ Howe told Amazon Prime.
City visit the capital on Sunday as they make the trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.