City on the march

De Bruyne has found good form recently. — Reuters

ANOTHER weekend for Manchester City like the one they enjoyed the last time out, will make it hard to fault those who think that the champions will retain their title.

Of course, City’s detractors will scoff at the idea of even mentioning the title when the year is not out yet.

But with Liverpool and Chelsea both dropping points last weekend, the Citizens moved three clear of the second-placed Reds and five in front of the Blues.

And if the leading pretenders to City’s crown come unstuck in similar ways again, one would have to say that Pep Guardiola is setting up the blue half of Manchester for a sixth league title in 11 years.

It would be a remarkable return in this day and age when it is so difficult to win even one — Manchester United can bear testimony to that.

With City surrendering their Carabao League Cup earlier in the season, they had the whole week off.

In sharp contrast, Leicester were engaged in a battle royale with Liverpool in the quarter-final of the competition and may well be suffering somewhat from wear and tear when they clash at the Etihad.

This is not to say that Guardiola does not have issues of his own. But he will have had more time to prepare for the Foxes’ visit.

Another plus for the home team is the return to form of their kingpin midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who has markedly picked up pace over the past couple of weeks or so.

Set back by worrisome injuries in the Champions League final and then the European Championships, De Bruyne is beginning to look like his old self again. And that spells danger for any team, Premier League or not.

If this lad gets going against Leicester and finds the sort of spaces that he can so effortlessly create for himself and those around him, the visitors could be in for a real hammering and one suspects that is what will happen out there tomorrow.

Leicester played their hearts out in the midweek Cup game and were on the cusp of victory, only to lose after an injury-time equaliser and penalties.

That will have drained the spirits of many a good team and Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers will be hard-pressed to lift his side to some semblance of resistance against an outfit that has found the sweet spot and are operating like a well-oiled machine.

City, who this week agreed to let Ferran Torres move to Barcelona in a ¤55mil transfer, have won their last eight league games in a row, dating back to the beginning of November.

And as if to underscore the point, they have scored 12 goals in their last three Premiership matches, without conceding even one.

If those are not the traits of champions, then surely there are none to be found anywhere.

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