By Joe Harker
Manchester City are almost certainly going to win the Premier League.
Working out how to defeat them is a tricky task, as teams have attacked and lost while other clubs defended against them and also lost.
Liverpool had some success with their attack but they have a great record against the top teams and replicating their style is not something that can be done for one or two games a season, they had success because their manager had been getting them to play like that for multiple seasons.
Even the best teams in England can shut up shop against Man City and hope to snatch something on the break, but this is yet to work for anyone but Wigan who capitalised on a Kyle Walker mistake to knock City out of the FA Cup. For current Premier League champions Chelsea, taking the defensive approach meant they had no shots on target over 90 minutes. Theirs is a squad blessed with attacking talent but they weren't able to use it in an important game and some have suggested that teams shut up shop because they are scared of City.
Johnathan Wilson of The Guardian writes that Chelsea's "supine surrender" should worry everyone as the Premier League champions did not think they could win against this City side. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said after the game that he would be stupid to play an open game and suggested he would have lost by a big margin if he'd tried to play attacking football.
Sides outside the top six trying to play defensively against Man City are understandable as they do not have the quality to go toe to toe with their opponents but for the current Premier League champions to look at City and think they've got little chance is something else entirely. They've got their opponents on the back foot and playing reactionary football from the get go, thus allowing them to play their own way in almost every game.
However, ESPN suggests this fear factor that serves City so well in the Premier League could trip them up against top class Champions League opposition. If they get an easy ride domestically then they could be unprepared for teams that could match them in terms of quality and are willing to go toe to toe with them.
The likes of a struggling Chelsea side may be afraid, but a Barcelona or Bayern Munich team willing and able to take City head on could be a different prospect that the club are not used to dealing with this season. It may be a close contest that City back themselves to win, but they may end up wishing they'd been given sterner tests to prepare themselves.