Richard Buxton: Man City pass Terriers test with flying colours
Guardiola's side show mental resolve in comeback win
Little and nothing can conceivably stand in the way of Manchester City.
Until yesterday morning (Singapore time), there has been a minimal requirement for Pep Guardiola's side to fight to the bitter end, as their supporters have continually sung.
Eking out a late win over Bournemouth in August was the sum of City's endeavours against a backdrop of five, six and seven-goal thrashings.
In the arctic setting of the Pennines, however, they did not merely survive against Huddersfield Town - they owned the moment, coming from behind to win 2-1.
The Terriers lived up to their nickname in arguably City's most testing game to date this season, maintaining their record as the English Premier League's highest-tackling side and failing to muster a single shot on target.
Containment was key at the John Smith's Stadium, with hopes of claiming a second Manchester scalp in the space of five weeks aided by a short-lived stroke of fortune.
But Guardiola has transformed City from a club which was once more renowned for largely self-inflicted punchlines than accomplishments into bona fide champions-elect.
Teams with similar aspirations have crumbled against those who have successfully halted their previous momentum.
Man City have 37 points from their first 13 EPL matches this season — the best tally at
this stage of an EPL campaign
Unstoppable in the first three months of the season, City should have followed in Manchester United's footsteps at the same venue.
Not even the backwaters he encountered on occasion with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich could have prepared Guardiola for the unforgiving realities of what lay ahead at Huddersfield.
Yet City are continuing to break all records before them, including some of their own less illustrious ones.
Winning a first away game in the English top flight where they had trailed at half-time in over 22 years may finally end the unflattering references to their inglorious past.
However, Guardiola's approach borrowed itself from the playbook of Maine Road yesteryear, when Huddersfield were their competitive equals in tiers far below the EPL's promised land.
It was more synonymous with the doggedness of Kevin Horlock than Kevin de Bruyne's majesty.
Were the Catalan to be offered the chance to excel on a cold and wet Wednesday night at Stoke - a hypothetical on which his Barca side were crucified by their critics - he would relish it.
Guardiola's touchline demeanour remains as casual as his current attire, but there can be no denying that he has meticulously laid the groundwork for City's well-heeled juggernaut.
Take Raheem Sterling for instance. Leaked video footage of the winger being taken to task by his manager on his positional sense has emerged, with the Spaniard repeatedly drilling his tutorial into the forward.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Sterling later executed the move, step for step, email@example.com a late Champions League winner against Feyenoord.
Five days later, the England international performed a similar trick for City's decisive second at Huddersfield, albeit a fortuitous deflection helped him to guide the ball home.
That attention to detail is why both he and his City teammates continue to bear the hallmarks of a team capable of staying the distance of the title race in scenarios that the likes of United, Arsenal and Liverpool either have or will come unstuck before the end of the campaign.
A defiant message of "Catch us if you can" from the Etihad Stadium to the EPL's languishing pack continues to echo, but has been upgraded another level again.