Manchester City beat Crystal Palace 4-0 on Sunday night, meaning they have kept yet another clean sheet.
City eased to a win as John Stones bagged a brace, with Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling also getting themselves on the scoresheet.
Pep Guardiola’s men are only two points off top spot in the Premier League table now, and have a game in hand on leaders Manchester United.
Finding the net four times was of course a huge boost for Guardiola’s men, but another clean sheet just goes to show the improvement City have made at the back.
City have now kept seven clean sheets in their last nine Premier League games, conceding just twice in that remarkable defensive run.
A key has been the signing of Ruben Dias, who penned a £115,000-a-week deal when he arrived from Benfica for £65million over the summer.
The Portuguese international has been an absolute rock in the heart of the City defence, forming a superb partnership with Stones – which means Aymeric Laporte may struggle to get back into the side.
On Sunday, pundit Micah Richards told Sky Sports (17/01, 7:07pm) suggested that Dias is ‘incredible’, and he has almost been surprised by how quickly he has become a Premier League star.
Fellow pundit Roy Keane doesn’t hand out praise easily, but he raved about Dias for the pride he shows in his defending, claiming his style of play is ‘great to see’.
“He’s incredible,” said Richards. “23 years of age, coming from Benfica, I know he’s come for a big fee but it has surprised me, if I was being totally honest. We all know how hard it is to come into the Premier League and perform. We know that Manchester City are going to have a lot of the ball, but the centre backs sometimes get left exposed, and if you can’t defend one-on-one, then you’re going to concede goals. Dias coming in has been a breath of fresh air,” he added.
“He looks like an old-fashioned defender, he looks like he really has pride in his defending. We talk about modern defenders now, it’s all about what they’re like in possession, particularly with the amount of possession of Manchester City get, but this lad looks like he really has pride in his defending, which is great to see,” said Keane.