Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (L) vies with West Bromwich Albion’s Northern Irish defender Gareth McAuley during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on October 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Lindsey PARNABY
Kevin De Bruyne says it will be “very hard” for Manchester City to match Arsenal’s “Invincibles” in going the entire Premier League season unbeaten despite their flying start.
City have made the best-ever start to a Premier League season after 10 games, collecting 28 points with a goal difference of plus 29.
Saturday’s 3-2 win at West Brom left them five points clear at the top of the table ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Napoli and the visit of Arsenal on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s team boast a proud record of being the only unbeaten team in England’s top four divisions but De Bruyne said it was unlikely they would match the Arsenal team of 2003-2004, who did not lose a single match.
“To go unbeaten? Well, it’s very hard. I don’t think it will be possible,” said the 26-year-old.
“The level of competition is so high, in every team. It’s not like, with all respect, 10 or 15 years ago where you have a couple of teams that won’t win against the top teams.
“Now every game is hard and you need to be mentally there. And with the Champions League and all the cups, there will be a game where maybe we are a little bit less and maybe lose. But as long as it keeps going, it’s good.
“Obviously, if you win a lot of games it’s good for us. You keep maintaining pressure. Hopefully we can have two good games this week and go into the international break unbeaten and it will mean we put a lot of pressure on the rest.”
Leroy Sane, Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling scored to clinch victory at The Hawthorns, City’s eighth straight top-flight win.
Victory in Italy on Wednesday will mean City progress from Group F with two games to spare, but De Bruyne wants to avoid distractions.
“We know if we go to Napoli and win then we’ll have qualified. That would be a nice position,” said the Belgium international.
“It’s important just to get qualified not about thinking about what it might mean, whether we could get a rest. If we are qualified, that is done. We might then have to think about finishing first or whatever but we know if we get a point or win, we are qualified.”
Jay Rodriguez and Matt Phillips gave the scoreline a more flattering look than West Brom deserved on Saturday and Kieran Gibbs conceded City are the best team he has faced.
The left-back said: “I think so. Collectively they are strong everywhere. It’s tough to play against. The way they move the ball, the way the players move position. It’s hard to keep track.”