After winning all their games in September, the question was, could City maintain such an incredible pace? They had beaten two top six clubs, including the champions on their own patch, top of their Champions League group and top of the Premier League on goal difference. With a home match against Stoke and second placed United at Liverpool, it was an opportunity to start putting some distance between them and the chasing pack.
Following the international break, Stoke arrived to try and put the brakes on City’s charge. Their resistance lasted seventeen minutes as Gabriel Jesus gave City the lead. Two minutes later, Raheem Sterling made it 2-0 following Kevin de Bruyne’s incredible ‘no looking pass’ sent him through on goal. By the half hour mark, it was 3-0 as David Silva scored following excellent work from Sterling Leroy Sane. It was looking ominous for Stoke, but the obviously hadn’t read the script and pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time.
Within two minutes of the second half, The Potters had pulled another back as Diouf’s shot hit Kyle Walker, then the post before crossing the line. But City were in no mood to allow a three goal lead to slip as Jesus scored his second goal following another excellent de Bruyne pass.
Five minutes later it was 5-2 as Fernandinho unleashed a rocket of a shot that thundered past Butland in the Stoke goal. But more was to come. Sane scored City’s sixth following more excellent work from de Bruyne and the other Silva, Bernardo made it 7-2 as he converted Sterling’s pass.
It was an incredible game that, for a short period of time, looked like Stoke would ruin. But with City in irresistible form, it was looking difficult to see who could stop them.
17th October 2017 – Manchester City 2-1 Napoli
Billed as the game between two of the best attacking teams in Europe, unbeaten City took on unbeaten Napoli in the Champions League. Napoli had won all eight of their games, while City had won all but one of their matches. Who would come out on top?
The blues took nine minutes to break the deadlock with Raheem Sterling giving the blues the lead after Kyle Walker’s shot had been blocked. And, in what was becoming a theme with City, they quickly extended the lead, Gabriel Jesus scoring just four minutes later from Kevin de Bruyne’s pass to put the blues firmly in control.
Napoli had a golden opportunity to pull a goal back when Walker gave away a penalty, but Ederson proved his worth by keeping the spot kick out with his legs. Napoli were awarded a second penalty on 73 minutes and this time they made no mistake.
But despite the visitors attempts, the bleus held on to take the points and remain top of the group by three points.
21st October 2017 – Manchester City 3-0 Burnley
Burnley were surprising a few people. They had already won at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, and as the two teams came together, the Clarets sat ninth in the league. The blues found their Lancashire opponents tough going, and it took a controversial penalty by Sergio Aguero to give City the lead.
Bernardo Silva went down under a challenge by keeper Nick Pope and the Burnley fans and manager felt it was a dive by the City man, but replays showed Pope’s knee came down on Silva’s foot leading to the spot kick. Aguero’s goal brought him level with Eric Brook’s all-time goal scoring record and sent the blues on their way to another win.
But the blues had to wait until the 73rd minute to increase the lead, Nicolas Otamendi heading home Leroy Sane’s corner. Two minutes later, City wrapped up the points as Kevin de Bruyne’s pass released sane, who beat the keeper and made it 3-0.
It turned out to be an excellent weekend for City, with United losing at Huddersfield to send the blues five points clear at the top.
24th October 2017 – Manchester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (City win 4-1 on penalties)
Of all the teams that had played City, only Everton hadn’t lost, but none had managed to keep a clean sheet. So it was somewhat of a shock when Wolves arrived and not only stopped the blues from scoring, but also created the better chances to win the game.
Second choice keeper Claudio Bravo not only prevented Wolves three times from taking the lead, but also produced an excellent performance in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.
It was the first time City were to use the ABBA penalty system and it seemed to work in City’s favour. Wolves took the first penalty and scored, but both de Bruyne and Yaya Toure scored their penalties to give City the lead. Bravo then saved two in succession to retain City’s advantage, meaning if City scored their next two penalties, the tie was over.
Leroy Sane almost missed, his penalty hitting the bar and going in, before Sergio Aguero stepped up to make it 4-1 with a Panenka penalty to send City through. It was a tough test for the blues, but they were still on course for Wembley.
28th October 2017 – West Brom 2-3 Manchester City
After defeating Wolves, the blues visited their Black Country neighbours for the second time this season.
The blues once again took an early lead through Leroy Sane’s eighth goal of the season on ten minutes, only for West Brom to level the scores three minutes later. Two minutes after that, City were back in front as scorer turned provider as Sane played in Fernandinho, whose shot hit two home players before dribbling over the line.
Sane was again involved in City’s third goal, starting a move that ended with Raheem Sterling making it 3-1. Game over, or so the blues thought. Matt Philips scored in the final minute of injury time to set the blues on the edge of their seats, but there was no time for the home side to mount another attack as the final whistle went and the blues remained five points clear.
Just as in September, October finished with the blues winning every game. The doubters from August had been silenced and some were now asking when, not if City won the league. Little did they realise there was still more to come.