How Pep's City revolution is taking shape
How Man City look a different beast under Guardiola compared to Pellegrini's reign
With three wins in three games, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City top the table.
They are playing flamenco along the flanks and sharing the goals around.
But what's changed under the Spaniard? How are things better since Manuel Pellegrini's departure?
Here are five reasons why the league leaders are a vastly improved proposition under Guardiola.
1 THE EGO HAS LANDED
Pellegrini was an honourable man who conducted himself with great dignity at Man City.
But he was too stiff, respecting English traditions and practically complying with them.
Pellegrini often played a 4-4-2, with a couple of conventional wingers and a target-man alongside the impish Sergio Aguero. He conformed to a rather predictable template.
Guardiola couldn't care less for English football's traditions and established playing patterns.
At Barcelona, he perfected tiki-taka until it became predictable and passe. At Bayern Munich, he favoured a conventional hitman in Robert Lewandowski in a more combustible league.
At City, he's instigating a genuine revolution. The English Premier League has never seen anything like it.
Here's a manager, new to the world's most popular football league, essentially rejecting accepted wisdom when it comes to formation and style.
In some ways, Guardiola's arrogance takes the breath away.
Even Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte's line-ups bear close resemblance to the usual EPL fare.
But City's opening three games were alien concepts.
For an hour against West Ham on Sunday, their football was otherworldly with an extra-terrestrial in the dugout.
Mourinho has always played the rebel, but now he's up against a genuine revolutionary.
2 HOW THE REVOLUTION WORKS
Consider Pellegrini's Man City.
It's easy to remember, 4-4-2 all season long, with 4-2-3-1 for the European games, David Silva on one side and Jesus Navas on the other.
On its day, the formation was formidable. The line-up was also predictable which contributed to far too many off days.
Last season, opponents stuck an extra man in midfield and cut the supply line and prayed for a sucker punch (West Ham pulled off the smash and grab in the corresponding fixture last season at the Etihad).
Now picture City against the Hammers for the first hour, a dizzying, hypnotic blur of passing, overlapping, interchanging and radical movement.
At one point, Guardiola screamed at Willy Caballero to station himself closer to the halfway line. That's Caballero, the goalkeeper.
John Stones strutted across the centre circle with the authority of a creative commandant, with Fernandinho often behind him.
The fullbacks hugged the touchline as the nominal wingers - Silva and Kevin de Bruyne - dashed inside, swopped places before pulling back again, as if engaged in a jolly rendition of the Hokey Cokey.
Guardiola's model depends upon continuous movement, with every player, including the goalkeeper, seeking vacant space to make himself always available for the next pass.
When the attack clicks, as it did so spectacularly for City's opening goal against West Ham, it's practically impossible to defend against. The Hammers chased air.
When positions are endlessly rotated and every player attacks and defends in equal measure - even Silva and Aguero tracked back - how can players be picked up or caught?
3 STERLING A MUCH STRONGER CURRENCY
Raheem Sterling's steady recovery epitomises City's improvement under Guardiola.
A simplistic analysis might hint at Pellegrini's shackles being removed and replaced with Guardiola's licence to kill, but Sterling (above) hasn't gone rogue.
On the contrary, he follows orders more dutifully now than perhaps he did under Pellegrini.
The Chilean favoured a disciplined approach that essentially consigned Sterling and company to fixed positions. But Guardiola's approach requires even greater discipline in many ways because he demands controlled, dedicated agents of chaos.
Sterling's role, like that of Silva, de Bruyne and Nolito, is to be available, at all times, all over the pitch.
Guardiola's orders are in effect more challenging than his predecessor, but ultimately more rewarding.
Sterling, who started the game on the right, popped up near the penalty box for his first goal, a position he rarely occupied under Pellegrini.
His second goal was tucked away from an acute angle on the left side of the six-yard-box.
He was a nowhere man under Pellegrini. For Guardiola, he's expected to be everyman.
The overriding principle of City now is organised chaos, an endless Blitzkrieg of unpredictable attacks.
It's fabulous to watch and the Etihad is fast becoming the coliseum for football spectacle.
Are you not entertained?
4 SMARTER SIGNINGS, NOT THE BIGGEST SIGNINGS
Under Pellegrini, and Roberto Mancini for that matter, City's transfer strategy looked rather superficial in the club's desperate bid for global respectability.
They bought the biggest names left at the banquet, once Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich had gorged at the buffet first.
In other words, they hooked second-tier superstars.
Take Sterling. He was the biggest name in British football at the time of his Liverpool sale. So City bought him and then spent a season wondering what to do with the £50-million ($89m) kid. Players were purchased first and their roles improvised later, as if City were making it up as they went along.
Under Guardiola, however, specific prospects were targeted to fit his template.
Many teak-tough defenders can win an aerial challenge. Few can sweep the ball into the opponents' half like Stones (above).
Joe Hart makes many saves, but isn't always steady on his feet. Claudio Bravo's boots are made for passing. So the Chilean goalkeeper came in.
Guardiola isn't swayed by reputation or resume. He's after a very specific skill-set.
City's habit of throwing big names at the wall in the hope that one sticks is over.
Guardiola has a head for smart business. He doesn't have a Hart for brand names.
SOLID SUBS: Pep Guardiola can call on the likes of Fabian Delph (left) and Samir Nasri (right) from the bench. PHOTO: REUTERS
5 BEST IS YET TO COME FROM THE BENCH
City's transformation is still in its embryonic stages. Teething problems remain. The pursuit of perfection is exhausting.
All that running, rotating and backtracking takes its toll on even the fittest players. After an hour against West Ham, fatigue took hold.
Guardiola's disgust at the Hammers' goal was obvious. His players are still learning to finish as they started.
His line-ups may overwhelm opponents, but his bench must be called upon to kill them off.
After three EPL wins in three games, the best is yet to come from the bench.
Neither Leroy Sane nor Ilkay Guendogan has played a single EPL minute. Bravo has yet to make his debut.
Fabian Delph is waiting for his chance and even Samir Nasri came on against West Ham and impressed.
Guardiola knows he needs them all. The revolution has started, but it must last the full 90 minutes.