Cape Town – Defending Premier League champions Manchester City are on track to record their biggest ever points margin over their fading neighbours Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola’s side – with two fixtures remaining – are on track to not only lift back-to-back titles, but also have opened up an incredible 27 point gap to sixth-placed Manchester United.
It is the Citizens’ biggest ever points margin over their cross-town rivals in the history of the Premier League as they look certain to better the 24 point margin set in the 2013/14 campaign.
It is the first time ever in modern Premier League history that two sides, City and Liverpool have amassed over 90 points with City on 92 followed closely by Jurgen Klopp’s side on 91.
No team has also not won the league after obtaining more than 90 points.
The two sides hold an incredible 21 point advantage over their next closest rival, Tottenham Hotspur, in third place.
Guardiola recently said that the two sides have raised the bar in what is required to win a Premier League title after a blockbuster campaign by both teams.
If both sides win their remaining three games, Liverpool would finish the campaign on 97 points – the third-highest tally in the Premier League era – and still fail to end their 29-year wait for an English top-flight title as City would have 98.
It is a far cry from the 1996/97 campaign when Manchester United won the championship with just 75 points.
That means, according to City coach Pep Guardiola, that future champions will need to be aiming towards the magical century, which City achieved last season, to be assured of lifting the trophy.
“The standards we created last year at Manchester City, people know that you have to be close to 100,” he told reporters.
“Before it was 90.
“This standard was last season, we helped Liverpool to achieve it this year and Liverpool helped us to keep going, so thanks to Liverpool we are competing.
“Liverpool know that to win you have to make a lot of points. That’s what we communicate to anyone.
“Next season, Chelsea are getting better, Man United, Tottenham. At the end when you are 25 points above United, 22 points ahead of other ones, if they want to stay there you have to improve the standard. It was easier before, everyone can lose to anyone.”
The two Manchester sides feel at the opposite side of a spectrum with United seemingly set for a major squad overhaul after appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager.
City have set a long-term plan since appointing the former Barcelona manager as a result of a clear structure at the club with the Spaniard working closely with CEO Ferran Soriano and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain who also moved from Barcelona.
In the meantime, United have taken a scatter-gun approach to their recruitment and football philosophy led by different managers in David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
Guardiola finished the 2016/17 season without lifting a trophy for the first time in his managerial career and immediately set about bringing in players to implement his football philosophy. After identifying the defensive areas that required improvement, City signed goalkeeper Ederson alongside fullbacks Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy. Also brought in was Bernardo Silva from Monaco.
United have since had largely a hit-and-miss approach to their recruitment with players signed by Alex Ferguson still forming the bedrock of a fading squad.