Many fans and pundits have already engraved Man City’s name on the Premier League trophy.
Pep Guardiola’s side have won all but one of their games so far this season and in most instances they’ve merged substance with style.
City have been so impressive that post-mortems have already begun among some of their title rivals.
Some questions are even being asked of Man United, such is the disparity between the two rivals, but a brief glance at the history books informs us that criticism of Jose Mourinho and his troops may be unwarranted.
United have 32 points from 14 games with ten wins, two draws and two losses.
Their tally at this stage of the season (and it’s worth noting that we are now over a third of the way through the campaign) is better than that of the majority of Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winning squads.
In fact, only three of Fergie’s 13 title-winning teams had 32 points or more after 14 games of the season.
Which means, in the Premier League era alone, United have won TEN league titles after making a worse start to the season than the current crop.
Under normal circumstances, Mourinho’s troops would be the subjected to praise exclusively.
But we are not living under normal circumstances.
Guardiola has forged a City team which has skewed our perceptions.
Compared to City, United have looked, dare we say, ordinary?
But comparisons to City at this stage are harsh and unfair.
In all of Europe, perhaps only PSG and Barcelona would care for parallels right now?
All United can do maintain the pressure as best as possible and history tells us they’re not doing a bad job of that at all.
Their 4-2 win over Watford at Vicarage Road last night reduced the gap between them and City to five points — though the leaders will fancy their chances of restoring that to eight points at home to Southampton this evening.
While eight points represents a comfortable lead, City could have easily been out of sight by now.
United deserve credit for staying within their radar, even if they are just a blip at the perimeter.
It’s a case of ‘keep calm and carry on’ for United, especially with the Manchester derby on the horizon.
If City maintain their current form until the end of the season then all United can do is congratulate their rivals and go again.
However, history suggests there will be a hiccup or two at some stage, and if United carry on as they are (plus a reversal in Lukaku’s goalscoring form) they’ll in position for a well-timed charge.