1. Manchester City 1 Everton 1, August 21
It is easy to forget that Raheem Sterling did not start the season in the City side. The winger came on at half time in the second game with City reduced to 10 men by Kyle Walker’s controversial red card. City trailed for an hour before Sterling levelled. Without that, they would not have gone unbeaten until January.
2. Bournemouth 1 Man City 2, August 26
Another Sterling late show, another dismissal and more controversy. City trailed again but Sterling grabbed a 97th-minute winner and a 99th-minute red card for celebrating with the crowd. His August antics meant that, whereas City may have only mustered four points from their first three games, they took seven.
3. Man City 5 Liverpool 0, September 9
The scoreline was emphatic. The pivotal moment was Sadio Mane’s first-half red card for catching Ederson in the face with a high boot. Leroy Sane’s brace was a sign of how devastating he can be, and after only two wins against the top seven last season, this showed City’s fortunes were changing rapidly.
4. Watford 0 Man City 6, September 16
It was not merely the margin of victory, during a run of three wins by an aggregate score of 16-0, or Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick, or the 28 shots. It was the reality that they won after a midweek Champions League game, another issue for them last season. It was also their first league game this season playing 4-3-3.
5. Chelsea 0 Man City 1, September 30
A symbolic toppling of the champion thanks to the outstanding former Chelsea player Kevin de Bruyne curling in a brilliant winner. It was also the first game of Fabian Delph’s successful conversion into a left-back.
6. Man City 2 Southampton 1, November 29
Him again. Eight days after Sterling’s
88th minute winner against Feyenoord, three after his 84th-minute decider at Huddersfield came a 96th-minute beauty. Besides providing further proof of Sterling’s substance, that run of vital late goals – David Silva got another four days later against West Ham – showed City’s spirit and fitness.
7. Man United 1 Man City 2, December 10
Jose Mourinho conceded United’s title hopes were “probably over” after City ended a 40match unbeaten home record to go 11 points clear. Pep Guardiola appreciated the sight of his small side scoring twice from set-pieces, courtesy of David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi, but his side still needed Ederson to make a brilliant double save from Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata. It highlighted the difference the summer signing has made in goal.
8. Man City 4 Tottenham Hotspur 1, December 16
Tottenham inflicted City’s first league defeat last season. There was no repeat. Besides the statutory Sterling late goals – two of them – De Bruyne produced another masterclass. He scored a wonderful goal, Dele Alli resorted to the illegal to try and stop him and Mauricio Pochettino’s attempt to halt City with a diamond midfield failed.
9. Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3, March 1
Vincent Kompany thought it would be the toughest test of City’s season. Arsenal, he reasoned, would be out for revenge after Guardiola’s men won the League Cup final four days earlier. City were without the injured Sterling, Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy and the banned Delph. They surged into a 3-0 lead in 33 minutes. Game over.
10. Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0, March 4
Chelsea’s incredibly negative tactics were a sign of how City have demoralised their rivals. The leaders’ mastery was apparent in the way they completed a Premier League record 902 passes, with Ilkay Gundogan responsible for 167 of them. Bernardo Silva scored the winner to put City 18 points clear and all but seal the title.