Manchester City lead the pack as December nears its end

Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola gestures from the touchline during the Premier League match against Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on Dec. 26. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Pep has Manchester City rolling through Premier League once again

At this point, some things are simply expected: The sun will rise, taxes will be due and Pep Guardiola will have Manchester City cruising through an incredibly difficult Premier League campaign. Not only that, but his Citizens have also dominated in both domestic cup competitions and the UCL. Clockwork, indeed.

Manchester City is 9 points ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea and, while many analysts describe the EPL as “The top-three and everyone else,” two of those clubs are floating back towards the “everyone else.” In any event, only City continues on the torrid pace of 50 points through 20 matches, and they are doing this without any striker other than Gabriel Jesus.

The team is playing a truly beautiful brand of football, one in which everyone plays a part in every facet of the game, from the defense to the build-up and counter. Pep continues to refine his strategy and theories regarding football each year and while I lauded last season as a masterclass, or a gem, this season might be seen as even better by the end of the year.

The style of play continues to evolve, and as it evolves, apart from the results, new ideas and strains of what we are seeing will permeate other teams, other leagues, and only serve to further evolve the game in ways other than what may have been previously predicted.

City poised to get even better, but hard matches remain

While Manchester City is moving Ferran Torres back to Spain, to Barcelona, there is no telling how this move might affect City. They could search for a replacement or depth in presumed areas of weakness.

It might be another number 9, it could be help on the back line or it could even just free up time and positions for others already on the team. The profit that this sale nets for City is likely to mean bad news for everyone else in England, however.

Whether there are any new signings or not, the team will continue to gel as the matches go on, and will become more difficult to deal with over time. While injuries are always a possibility, City is not only well-coached, but is incredibly deep too. They will have to get through a tough match against Arsenal next, though they annihilated the Gunners earlier this season.

January will also feature a clash with Chelsea, which could put plenty of space between City and Thomas Tuchel’s side. A Chelsea win could claw them back up towards first while a victory for City would push Chelsea further away.

While domestic cups and European obligations line the rest of the way for City, Liverpool in the last months of the campaign will most likely be the final roadblock to a repeat for the Citizens and Pep.

Guardiola will have his eyes on a double, a treble or a quadruple, even if he never admits it to any of us, yet the Premier League — unless something massive happens — could very well be theirs by that time.

A New Year is on the horizon but so much can still change in the Premier League, as well as with City. They sit in good shape even as Liverpool, Chelsea, and even Arsenal lurk behind them. The gap leaves City with some margin for error so even if they stumble here and there, as it stands, the title is theirs for the taking.