The most impressive team Premier League history? The best Pep has ever managed? Better than his best Barca?
So many questions, so little answers when it comes to Manchester City, which sounds just about right for us and every other side to come across them.
If they’re not the most perfect sporting spectacle since Torvill and Dean’s Bolero then they’re close; toe-looping through whatever obstacles we threw in their path with effortless grace, spinning Nuno’s mind in the process.
He may as well have thrown a bouquet of red roses onto the pitch when Chris Kavanagh blew for half-time, in a match so one-sided that the ref would have waved it off in the first round or two, were it a boxing contest.
This is Manchester City for you, combining panache with pugilism to ensure that lightning could never strike in the same place twice – not that we really thought it ever would.
It’s been a few blue moons since we won 2-0 at the Etihad but City have added a triple salchow or two since then, while our routine was all too predictable – if not understandable – under the circumstances.
Knowing that Nuno would park the bus, City wheeled out four sports-cars of their own and revved them up top, not allowing us out and creating chances at will. It was another way to skin a cat, and this cat had used up all nine lives just making it to half time a goal down.
An improved second half reached a high point when Coady nodded in bravely from Moutinho’s free kick, but you still sensed we needed to be flawless from then on to nick the most outrageous of points. Sadly for us we weren’t, and those figure skaters kept gliding through on goal.
And thereby lies the difference between this year and last. When a late surge saw us take home the spoils, ever player was on point; executing their tasks with laser-like precision as was so often the case during the high points of last season.
We’re a pale imitation of that side right now and Adama Traore’s aberration for their second goal summed this very point up. When revelling as last season’s hero he could do no wrong all game, but was painfully poor in possession at the critical moment of this one, attempting to dribble around three players deep in our own third rather than give a simple ball to Neves. Within seconds, Jesus slammed the ball home, in a goal that did Semedo no favours either, owing to shoddy positional play. Owen Otasowie deserves more sympathy having just come onto the pitch cold, but those heavyweights in sky blue still scented blood and delivered another telling blow. Mahrez did the rest and there was still time for Jesus to cap a pretty biblical collective performance to give the scoreline a fair reflection.
Positives were Coady’s first Premier League goal from a Moutinho free kick, a quite remarkable performance in goal from Patricio (one of his best yet?) and an improvement in fortunes when switching back to the 3-4-3 with Adama and Neto either side of Silva. And dare I whisper that the young Portuguese is looking better?
Probably best to leave it at that and doff our caps to an extraordinary side, who we were always skating on thin ice against, to be fair.