Are Manchester City getting even better under Pep Guardiola? Sunday Supplement panel debate...
Neil Custis of The Sun, The Times' Alyson Rudd and The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel discuss whether the Premier League champions are getting even better under Guardiola, following their 5-0 win at West Ham
By Sunday Supplement
Last Updated: 11/08/19 7:38pm
Manchester City got their Premier League title defence up and running in style with a 5-0 win at West Ham, but are Pep Guardiola's side getting better? The Sunday Supplement panel discuss...
Last season, Liverpool pushed City all the but Guardiola's men - who became the first team to reach 100 points in the Premier League during the 2017/18 season - produced some exhilarating football as they became the first side to retain the title since 2009, finishing on 98 points.
And City, who are targeting a third straight title this season, picked up exactly where they left as Gabriel Jesus' opener, followed by Raheem Sterling's second-half hat-trick and a penalty from Sergio Aguero, secured an emphatic win for the defending champions at the London Stadium.
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But are they still improving? Neil Custis of The Sun, The Times' Alyson Rudd and The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel assess whether Pep Guardiola's champions are getting even better...
RUDD: "The performance at West Ham showed that they are probably going to be slightly better this season.
"They took a while to get into gear at the London Stadium but I did my player ratings this morning for Monday's paper and you are thinking: "Can I give everyone eights or nines?" But all the players were very good. Once they were clicking in the second-half it was jaw- dropping. It was really impressive and there were no signs at all that they were going to be a different team with different priorities.
"I was particularly impressed that Rodri has an aura around him already. Vincent Kompany leaving the club was a bit of a blow because even if he didn't play in a game you knew he'd be there in the dressing offering that "I've been there, I've done it" calmness.
"Rodri already has that about him. His body language was good, he was pointing to where his team-mates should be and he was in the right place to make numerous interceptions. He looked like he had a lot of time to pick his passes. It was an impressive Premier League debut.".
"Then there's Raheem Sterling. He still looks like he's on that trajectory where he's going to get even better this season and that will scare most defences in the Premier League."
CUSTIS: "I was thrilled watching the game on Saturday. I thought City were magnificent."
"You maybe see a performance like that in October or November when managers say their team is getting into their stride or after the international break when they say they are finally up and running. But that from City, for an opening day performance, was phenomenal.
"What was interesting was now that Leory Sane is injured, Riyad Mahrez is going to step forward and I thought he played really well against West Ham. He's thought this is my opportunity now. And because Kompany's gone John Stones will play regularly and he'll take on that mantle. He's superb at passing the ball out from the back too.
"They are just walking through teams and they are going to take it to another level. It's the way they can just go along in second gear and then suddenly rev it up."
SAMUEL: "Man City didn't think they played well and that's the most worrying thing about it.
"I know they've got a fantastic record at West Ham. If City could've picked to play any fixture away from home on the opening day it would've been West Ham. It's 22-1 to City in the last five games.
"But at half-time the West Ham guys thought they were in with a shot but I don't think that was Man City anywhere near their full capacity."
What's next for City?
Manchester City host Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, August 17.
Kick-off is at 5pm and you can watch all the action live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm.
Pep: City 'sloppy' in West Ham rout
Despite City's big win at West Ham, Guardiola said there was more to come from his side, saying he was delighted with his side's 5-0 victory in their Premier League opener - but not the performance.
"In terms of the result, yes," he replied when asked if he was happy.
"I cannot deny I am delighted for the first game. After winning the last 14 games of last season, that's 15 now. It is good."
And the performance? "No," he added.
"In the first half we were sloppy with our passes, we were not precise. But that's normal. The first game, away, 12.30 kick-off, hot. It's normal.
"In the second half, from the beginning we were better, more calm, more passes. After 3-0, the game was over."
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