Manchester City's 2020/21 title triumph was built on their rock-solid defence and they have started in a similar fashion this season, with Alan Shearer hailing the influence of their centre-backs in Saturday's 1-0 win at Chelsea.
Shearer was hugely impressed by the way that Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte nullified the threat posed by Chelsea's deadly striker Romelu Lukaku.
The Premier League's record goalscorer and Hall of Fame inductee has named both defenders in his Team of the Week, while also recognising the importance of Bernardo Silva and the tactics of Pep Guardiola in the victory over the European champions.
✨ @alanshearer's Team of the Week from a pulsating MW6 ✨— Premier League (@premierleague) September 28, 2021
Who would make your team? 👇 pic.twitter.com/zZ8oG88sPe
He made several important saves to keep a clean sheet and also set up Raul Jimenez’s winning goal.
His influence was crucial to Man City’s title triumph, and it has been key so far this term too. The champions have only conceded one goal.
Kortney Hause (AVL) MUN 0-1 AVL
Filling in for the ineligible Axel Tuanzebe, he helped keep a clean sheet and scored the winner at Old Trafford. He will be hard to drop after that.
Aymeric Laporte (MCI) CHE 0-1 MCI
Lukaku usually bullies defenders but we barely saw him thanks to City's centre-backs.
He took full advantage of the space he was given with his goal and assist. Superb.
Bernardo Silva (MCI) CHE 0-1 MCI
Guardiola needed hard workers as well as ball players for his high-energy pressing game to work, and Bernardo delivered on both fronts.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (EVE) EVE 2-0 NOR
He provided so much energy in the middle and scored a good goal, timing his run perfectly and finishing well.
Emile Smith Rowe (ARS) ARS 3-1 TOT
The 21-year-old just looked so at home in the derby, opening Tottenham Hotspur up time and again. He was a deserving man of the match.
Michail Antonio (WHU) LEE 1-2 WHU
After a largely frustrating match where the ball just wouldn’t go in the net for him, he waited for one more chance and took it clinically.
He bounced back brilliantly from the disappointment of his own goal, running in behind twice to score in typical Vardy fashion.
Raul Jimenez (WOL) SOU 0-1 WOL
Welcome back to the goals! After what he has been through, it must be a huge relief to score again, and get the winner.
Manager: Pep Guardiola (MCI) CHE 0-1 MCI
Everyone was talking about Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea before the match, but Guardiola showed why he is one of the world's best.