You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognise Manchester City as the best team in England right now.
Following a debut season of transition and then a dominant Premier League title win, Pep Guardiola has crafted a side that appears capable of holding their own against Europe’s best.
City are currently two points clear of Liverpool and four above Chelsea 12 matches into the campaign, but the gap between them and the chasing pack belies their clear superiority.
The reigning champions are currently on a seven-match winning streak in all competitions that would be 12 save for a goalless draw at Anfield during October.
In fact, that result is only one of three outings City have failed to win this term, the other two being a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Lyon and a 1-1 draw away to Wolves.
If it wasn’t clear enough yet, Guardiola has also watched his men obliterate their opponents by a margin of five goals or more on five occasions already.
So, when it comes to identifying the strongest team in the country, City are pretty difficult to look beyond.
However, a certain Marouane Fellaini has other ideas.
The Belgian and his teammates now find themselves 12 points adrift of their neighbours after suffering a 3-1 defeat at the Etihad prior to the international break.
But when asked if the result had emphasised a significant gap between the two teams, Fellaini said, per Sky Sports: "I don't think so. I remember when I arrived in England it was a top four, now it is a top six, so every year it is more difficult.
"Next season we will see how it changes and in two and three years I think every year it is more difficult, the intensity is higher, so that's why the Premier League is attractive.
"Manchester City are strong, but I think they will lose. Ok, they are very good and they have good players but it's possible to beat them. We lost, but we have the second game at Old Trafford and we will see.”
To no surprise, the blue half of Manchester hasn’t let Fellaini off lightly for trying to undermine their formidable start to the 2018-19 season…
Fellaini won’t be able to put his theory to the test until the next Manchester derby in March, though in the meantime, even he can appreciate watching City in full flight.
He said: ”They are very confident, all of them, they play good football, they play attacking football and they have a good dynamic."