In a surprise to no-one given Manchester City’s incredible recent form, Pep Guardiola has been named Premier League manager of the month for January.
It was a season that promised to deliver an open title race until the death, but City have taken full advantage of faltering form from Liverpool and Manchester United to pull away from the chasing pack.
They sit five points clear at the top of the division with a game in hand at present and that is largely thanks to a perfect January that saw them pick up six consecutive victories.
They started the month with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s late consolation would prove to be the only goal they would concede for the entire month.
They won their next five matches by an aggregate scoreline of 13-0, brushing aside a quarter of the division with minimal fuss to assert themselves as the clear favourites to win the league for the third time in Guardiola’s tenure.
The news completes a double for City as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who netted five goals in six appearances throughout January, lifted the player of the month award. He has become a favourite of Guardiola’s in recent weeks and was in the thick of it as City started 2021 with a bang.
Despite a faltering start to the season, Guardiola’s team are beginning to look more and more like the side who romped to successive league titles in 2018 and 2019. They were virtually unbeatable for those two seasons, registering 100 and 98 points respectively – then the two highest totals ever recorded.
They won just two of their first five games this season and were in the bottom half of the table as recently as November. But they have taken 38 points from their last 42 available and look on course to charge to yet another title.
Guardiola fought off competition from David Moyes, Mikel Arteta, and Graham Potter to win the January award.