De Bruyne: Tough for City to match Arsenal 'Invincibles'

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City has made the best-ever start to an English Premier League season after 10 games, collecting 28 points with a goal difference of plus 29.
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Reuters

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (center) scores the first goal against Everton during theur English Premier League match at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England, on October 29, 2017. The Foxes won 2-0.

Kevin De Bruyne says it will be "very hard" for Manchester City to match Arsenal's "Invincibles" in going the entire English Premier League season unbeaten despite its flying start.

City has made the best-ever start to an EPL season after 10 games, collecting 28 points with a goal difference of plus 29.

Saturday's 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion left it five points clear at the top of the table ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League trip to Napoli and the visit of Arsenal on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's team boasts a proud record of being the only unbeaten team in England's top four divisions but De Bruyne said it was unlikely it would match the Arsenal team of 2003-2004, which 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 progresses 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."

Social contract

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has no doubt that striker Alexis Sanchez will give his best against City in Sunday's clash as he believes the Chilean has a "social contract" with his teammates to get victories.

Sanchez, who was been among Arsenal's top scorers for the past three seasons, failed to complete a move to Guardiola's side in August and is yet to hit his stride this campaign, scoring just twice in nine appearances across all competitions.

The Chilean's lone league goal came in the 5-2 win over Everton earlier this month but Sanchez failed to make an impact in last Saturday's 2-1 win over Swansea City.

"I have no concerns because I'm not suspicious about performances or the desire to win of a football player," Wenger told British media.

"When you are a football player you have a social contract with the rest of the team and I never question that. Once you don't respect that, it is difficult to say that you play football."

Wenger said the 28-year-old, who has provided three assists this season, was improving and would get back to his best soon.

"I'm not worried about it, he works hard and it will come back. You never try too hard. I think at the moment he is marked well but he still creates many dangerous situations and he just has to not worry too much," Wenger said.

"You say that to all the strikers and they still worry but over longer periods he has always scored goals so that will come back."

On Sunday, Claude Puel made a winning start to his tenure as Leicester City manager after his side defeated Everton 2-0 at home in the EPL.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Jamie Vardy smashed in Riyad Mahrez's right wing cross. Their lead was doubled 11 minutes later when Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny sliced Demarai Gray's left wing cross into his own net.

The result compounded a miserable week for Everton, which had caretaker manager David Unsworth in charge following the sacking of Ronald Koeman last Monday.

Everton remains 18th in the standings, having lost six of its 10 matches this season, while Leicester is up to 11th.

"I was impressed with my players," Puel said. "It was a very good first half and there were good combinations between the players for the first goal."

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