Manchester City v The Invincibles: How Premier League leader measures up to Arsenal’s heroes

How does Manchester City compare to the Arsenal Invincibles side of 2003-04 as it looks to go the Premier League season unbeaten?

Manchester City has shown the quality of champion on many occasions this season.   -  AP

It promises to be a very merry Christmas for Manchester City fans as they toast a first half of the season that has seen their team build up a record points advantage over the second-placed team in the Premier League.

Having gone 19 matches without defeat, talk of Pep Guardiola's side going the full season unbeaten has inevitably grown in volume. Arsenal is the only club to have achieved the feat in the Premier League era - doing so in 2003-04.

But how do the two sides compare? Here, we crunch the numbers.

A RECORD LEAD

Arsenal’s midway tally of 45 points was only enough to earn it second spot in early January – a point behind Manchester United – and it would be a daunting 10 adrift of the current City side.

Six draws from its opening 19 matches of an unbeaten season meant that, while Arsenal was impossible to beat, it struggled to truly take control of the campaign.

City, by contrast, has been held just once – a 1-1 draw with Everton in its second match of the season - and has opened up a 13-point lead over United at the summit.

Read: Manchester City exceeding even Guardiola's expectations

That gap is the biggest at Christmas in top-flight history and City has embarked on a 17-match winning run since the draw with Everton - an English league record.

Arsenal’s biggest win in the first half of the 03-04 season was a 4-0 victory at Middlesbrough, while this City side has matched or surpassed that winning margin on six separate occasions.

GOALS GALORE

With results like that it is no surprise to learn that City is some way clear of Arsenal when it comes to goals scored.

City’s 60 goals from 19 matches is a whopping 25 better off than the 03-04 Arsenal's at the same stage, helping it surpass 100 in 2017 – the first side since Liverpool in 1982 to achieve that feat.

The Blues’ goal difference also dwarfs that of Arsene Wenger's side of 14 years ago - +48 compared to Arsenal's +23.

Individually, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero lead the way for Guardiola's side with 12 goals apiece, ahead of Gabriel Jesus on eight and the ever-present Kevin De Bruyne on six, alongside Leroy Sane.

Read: Guardiola calls Aguero 'a legend'

Thierry Henry's half-season total for Arsenal matches that of Sterling and Aguero but he carried more of the goalscoring burden alone, with Robert Pires Arsenal's next best on seven, ahead of Gilberto Silva on four.

CITY CLOSEST TO DEFEAT

While City dominates most of the comparisons, it is Guardiola’s men who have actually come closest to losing in the first half of the season.

The latest equalising goal scored by Arsenal was in the 69th minute of an eventual 2-1 victory over local rivals Tottenham.

City, meanwhile, had to wait until the 82nd minute for Sterling to salvage a point in its solitary draw against Everton.

But Guardiola's side has since been peerless, defeating every team in its path to tee up a potentially historic second half of the season.

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