As first days at work go, Unai Emery facing the Premier League champions for his first match at the helm at Emirates Stadium is about as rough as it gets.

It didn’t get any easier for him in week two, as he took his Arsenal team across the capital to play Chelsea.

But then, to be fair, there were 37 points between the two teams at the end of last season, with the Gunners finishing sixth.

After conceding three goals in each of their three meetings last term, losing 2-0 to City could be seen as modest progress for Arsenal.

A league apart

There are plenty of opinions and tips on the Premier League around, but few are betting against City to do it all again.

Which just goes to highlight how far ahead of the chasing pack Pep Guardiola’s men are.

Second-place Manchester United were 19 points shy of City’s record-breaking points total last season and third place Tottenham Hotspur were 23 points short.

City lost just twice and beat every single team in the league over the course of the season.

They scored a massive 106 goals, which was 22 more than Liverpool and 32 more than anyone else.

Even more incredibly, City were only behind for a total of 153 minutes out of a season that lasted 3420 minutes plus stoppage time.

A record breaking season

The records tumbled around them as City marched inexorably on. They achieved the highest-ever goal difference, scoring over two goals a game more than they conceded.

Guardiola’s men achieved the highest-ever points, accruing 100 out of a possible 114.

City enjoyed the most consecutive wins, at 18 games on the trot, and the most consecutive away victories, at 11.

Needless to say, they equalled the record of winning the league with the most games to spare, with five matches still to go when they lifted the trophy.

So can anyone stop that kind of form or should they just give City the title now?

A hard title to defend

Despite City’s dominance, the Premier League title is notoriously hard to defend, and has changed hands annually for a decade since Man United completed a hat-trick of titles in 2008/2009.

The trophy has been retained six times in 26 seasons, although it has only left the big four on two occasions – when Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City took the crown.

Perhaps City can emulate their northern neighbours with a double or even treble of trophies.

But with the big four now expanded to include Spurs and the big-spending Champions League finalists Liverpool, it gets harder every year.

A hard act to follow

Of course in some ways, City are still up against it. After such a comprehensive season, anything less will seem like a let down.

Yet there is barely anywhere left to conquer – domestically at least. When you have beaten everyone in your league, and beaten the league as a whole by so much, what is left to inspire the fans?

Guardiola must have his sights set firmly on Europe, where his side were less than impressive last year.

This, surely, is the true test if they are to claim to be one of the greatest sides in the history of the Premier League.

Liverpool’s new Brazilian keeper could make the difference

The chasing pack

So who is up for the chase, and can any of them really hope to pull back the march of Manchester?

Liverpool certainly had one of their better seasons last year and have invested heavily in new signings to the tune of £177m – outspending Man City and Man United put together.

Perhaps their investment in a much-needed new goalkeeper will make a difference to their challenge.

Chelsea also spent big, investing £128m with their focus also on a new keeper.

Clearly City’s 106 goals are a problem that the rest of the league don’t want to have again.

Spurs, on the other hand, haven’t spent a penny, trusting the same team to do better this time round.

Perhaps one of the chasing pack will catch up. Perhaps some other, unexpected team will do a Leicester City and come from nowhere to surprise us all.

But based on the first two weekend of the seasons, it looks pretty much like business as usual in the Premier League. And to be honest, who is going to bet against City getting 101 points this term?

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