Manchester City have won every competitive match they have played under Pep Guardiola so far, and in doing so became one of only seven clubs to win their first 5 fixtures of a Premier League campaign. As it stands, betting on the stand-out stars of the season would offer meagre returns, but how long will it be before there is a huge upset and they are toppled from their perch? Would it be wise to stake money on their opponents each week to account for the inevitability that the Citizens will lose at some point?
History suggests that it is only a matter of time before the league leaders slip up. Last season, City also won their first five games under Manuel Pellegrini, which prompted many pundits to suggest they were untouchable. However, by the end of the campaign they found themselves well out of the title race and in a battle to clinch fourth spot. Interestingly, according to Sky Sports, on only two occasions have a club won their opening five fixtures and gone on to win the league. This was Chelsea both times, in 2005/6 under Jose Mourinho, and in 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Guardiola will certainly be looking to outdo his two main rivals for the World’s Best Manager tag by increasing his winning streak across more fixtures and then going on to lift the title. And it is also worth noting that City’s slump last season coincided with the captain Vincent Kompany being side-lined through injury for an extended period. In contrast this term, the Sky Blues have thus far emerged victorious without their rock at the back, and are preparing to welcome the Belgian back into the fold. Although recent reports suggest that a fresh hamstring injury sustained against Swansea in the EFL Cup will keep the defender out for a little while longer.
In terms of betting against the current league leaders, bettors who predict which team will be the first to slay the giants could prosper. Tottenham Hotspur inflicted a shock 4-1 defeat on Pellegrini’s men in the seventh round of fixtures last season. The two sides meet again at the same stage in this campaign, and betting on the Lilywhites to mirror that result could prove to be fruitful. The odds online at Betway.com at the time of writing have Mauricio Pochettino’s side at 13/5 to win at White Hart Lane.
Spurs have also had a solid start to the campaign, but with star striker Harry Kane out with an ankle injury they may not have as much bite in attack. New signing Vincent Janssen opened his account for the club in the EFL cup, so is certainly worth monitoring. If the Dutchman can step into Kane’s shoes, Pochettino will suddenly be faced with an embarrassment of riches in attack upon the Englishman’s return to action, which could once again see the London side fighting for the title until the death.
Maybe some bettors are starting to think that Guardiola does have what it takes to defy the odds and win every match in the league this season. But let’s just consider how unlikely that is. No team has ever come close to this extraordinary feat, but Chelsea are the current record holders for highest amount of victories in a season at 29 wins in 2004/5 and 2005/6. Arsenal are the record holders for most consecutive wins, with 14 between 10 February 2002 and 25 August 2002. The Gunners also had the longest unbeaten streak at 49 games between 7 May 2003 and 24 October 2004.
There is no denying Guardiola’s pedigree as one of the finest managers on the planet, but to smash such outstanding records in his first season in England’s top flight seems a tough challenge even for him. Bettors should seek to pick out which teams may have the potential to catch City off guard and inflict their first defeat of the season, and Spurs certainly have what it takes. The rewards would be handsome.