Richard Buxton: Man City the greatest EPL has seen
Guardiola's side trumps the great teams of the past, and will get even better
Manchester City may never receive the acclaim that their current greatness truly deserves.
Untouchables but not yet immortals, the EPL runaway leaders' rise is destined to be acknowledged only when supplemented by a steady stream of silverware.
Even that will never be enough for some, with the debate reignited again yesterday morning (Singapore time) after their young guns' eventual League Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester City via a penalty shoot-out.
Cynics question whether Pep Guardiola's side are capable of winning an unprecedented quadruple and whether it would be merited without going full-strength in all competitions.
Others have also recently argued that they wore the hallmark of English Premier League champions far better.
NOT A FINISHED PRODUCT
In Wayne Rooney's eyes, City are no match for Manchester United's class of 2008, while John Terry claims Jose Mourinho's first Chelsea side would overpower Guardiola's current charges.
Arsenal's Invincibles remain the benchmark against which City have both aspired and been measured against, and Robert Pires maintains Arsene Wenger's history-makers were superior.
Alongside Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp, Pires was in the esteemed company of some of his generation's finest players.
But unlike City, the Gunners were a finished product. The team at the Etihad Stadium now remain in their infancy.
By 2003/04, Arsenal were already at their peak, with an average squad age of 27. That was further aided by elder statesmen in the forms of Bergkamp, Jens Lehmann and Ray Parlour.
United were no different as they went on to lift both the EPL title and the Champions League just four seasons later, as Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were among Alex Ferguson's regular starters despite being on the wrong side of 30.
Only David Silva and Fernandinho meet that criteria from City's current squad who have made over 10 appearances this season.
That quota will be bumped up to three regular first-team players over the age of 30 when Sergio Aguero joins the group next summer.
Age is not an irrelevance when assessing the machine Guardiola has assembled.
Averaging at just over 26 - the same age as talisman Kevin de Bruyne - the raw prowess of their attacking line is unsurpassed by any of the EPL's most deserving champions in bygone years.
Chelsea's domineering outfit which captured back-to-back titles under Mourinho in 2004/05 and 2005/06 boasted a squad not too dissimilar in their potential and experience to City.
But the current Man United manager's safety-first approach was his greatest enemy as much as it was a regular source of strength.
The Londoners enjoyed comfortable winning margins of 12 and eight points respectively but lacked the entertainment value of their contemporaries.
Adventurous football alone does not win titles - see Newcastle United's entertainers of 1995/96 and Liverpool in both 2008/09 and 2013/14 - but City's thrill seekers are rewriting that rule.
Their league tally of 56 goals is already more than most EPL sides can manage in an entire season.
Their 52 points from 18 outings represent the best start to an English top-flight campaign.
Their 16 wins in a row is another Premier League record.
They are no longer reliant solely on the fire power of Aguero or trickery of Silva to help pull them through games.
In de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, they are able to lead across the line rather than from the front, as proved the case in their previous title victories.
And yet, there are still flaws which stop them from being hailed as the complete footballing entity.
Defensive vulnerabilities have continued to creep into the left-back position during Benjamin Mendy's prolonged absence. Like various wide men shunted into defence at Old Trafford, Fabian Delph is fighting a losing battle in attempting to square City's current circle.
Perfection was never going to come easy at the Etihad, where taking the arduous route to the top has become an art form in its own right.
Across town, Sir Alex Ferguson took three years before United were transformed into the machine that would come to be both loved and loathed.
City's current path has been 18 months in the making under Guardiola; marked progress even by the fast-paced standards of the modern EPL.
An inevitable title will merely verify their credentials as one of, if not the greatest team assembled in the league's history.