Analysis: Is this Man City team English soccer's greatest of all time? Here are the numbers

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The numbers speak for themselves.

An unprecedented fourth-straight Premier League title for Manchester City. A sixth in seven seasons to further emphasize the club's near-total dominance of the era.

A 17th trophy for City manager Pep Guardiola in eight years at the club — and that could rise to 18 if City beats Manchester United in next week's FA Cup final. It's a full set of major honors over that period, having won the Champions League for the first time last season.

Except for Liverpool in 2020, there has been no team in England's top flight to touch City since Guardiola began his remarkable run by winning the title in 2018.

Guardiola had already led City to back-to-back titles in 2018 and ’19 with totals of 100 and 98 points before his run was ended by Liverpool. In 2021 City reclaimed the title and has been the dominant force in England ever since by becoming the first English team to win four-straight top flight titles.

This team’s crowning glory came last season when it won the treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. It has won three League Cups over this current run of success and also reached the Champions League final in 2021.

The greatest English team of its time? Without doubt. But whether City can be considered the greatest English team of all time is likely to dominate debate for years to come.

Here are the rivals to that greatest-of-all-time title:

LIVERPOOL (1982-84)

Liverpool won three-straight top flight titles from 1982-84 — a period that also saw it win the European Cup and three English League Cups.

But this was just one period of an era of success that ran from 1973-90 and which saw it win 11 league titles and four European Cups among other major trophies.

Yet for all of Liverpool's sustained dominance under a series of managers beginning with Bill Shankly and ending with Kenny Dalglish, only once did it secure a hat trick of titles.

The first two of those were under Bob Paisley and the third was won by Joe Fagan, who also guided the club to the European Cup and League Cup that season.

In 1985 Liverpool was beaten to the title by Merseyside rival Everton, but reclaimed it the following season and also won the FA Cup.


By the time Alex Ferguson won his first hat trick of titles with United from 1999-2001 he had already twice come close to achieving that feat.

In 1995, two-time defending champion United was one point behind winner Blackburn. After reclaiming the title in 1996 and defending it in '97, United was one point behind 1998 winner Arsenal.

In 1999 United not only reclaimed its title, but won an unprecedented treble of trophies - the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. It went on to complete a hat trick of titles over the next two seasons by a combined total of 28 points over the runner-up on both occasions, Arsenal.


After three years without a title, United's rebuilt team began another period of dominance inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. It won a hat trick of titles from 2007-09 and also lifted another Champions League in 2008. United also reached the Champions League final in 2009 and again in 2011.

This period also included the League Cup in 2009.

The title-winning run was ended by Chelsea in 2010, when United was just one point behind the leader once again.


Arsenal is the only team in the Premier League to go an entire league season unbeaten in 2003-04 - earning itself the nickname of the Invincibles.

Preston was the first team in English soccer's top flight to go a full season unbeaten when it also became the first to win a league and FA Cup double in 1888-89.

Huddersfield (1924-26) and Arsenal (1933-35) both had periods of dominance and each won title hat tricks in an era before the European Cup when it was more difficult to judge teams in relation to rivals around Europe.


James Robson is at


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James Robson, The Associated Press