EVERY so often excitement levels are raised when the chance crops up to watch a high echelon football team in the flesh. That opportunity luckily comes my way this afternoon.

Manchester City have won the Premier League with time to spare. Their meeting with West Ham at the London Stadium is from the City angle, something of an exhibition. Nevertheless, what they exhibit tends to be something special and memorable.

Pep Guardiola has been working in England for less than two years but already has stamped his mark on the game south of the border. Let us not forget that until fairly recently, many were still insistent that what worked at Barcelona and Bayern Munich would be much harder to achieve in English football. There had to be a more prosaic, robust Plan B when pretty football proves unproductive.

Guardiola has done it in his own preferred fashion with dramatic results. Yes, there is a way to beat Manchester City but not too many sides have been able to draw from that well often enough to derail the club’s title express. Liverpool’s head to head meetings with City and ability to counter with gusto, suggest they might be the team to run them closest next season.

But for now, there are still a few records for the newly-crowned champions to shatter in this breath-taking campaign. Managers are always looking for carrots to keep players motivated after silverware has been secured and there are more than a few morsels for Manchester City to bite into.

The first milestone is one they should hit with relative ease. Six points are needed from their final four games against West Ham, Huddersfield, Brighton and Southampton to break the Premier League points record for a single season. The Chelsea team in Jose Mourinho’s maiden season of 2004-05 hold it with 95 points. It is hard to envisage City not managing that.

Slightly more exacting will be garnering the 10 points required to become the first side to 100 points in English top-flight history but it would be no surprise to see the Guardiola XI become the first centurions.

Two further records held by Chelsea will almost certainly be broken. If Manchester City can score six goals between now and May 13, they will overtake the Blues’ 103 figure from 2009/10. Two more victories will see them jump clear of the 30 wins put together by Antonio Conte‘s side in taking the crown last season.

So there is unlikely to be any dropping down a gear. There is also burgeoning young talent deserving of game time and might well feature in the starting XI. Phil Foden absolutely falls in that category.

I first watched the impressive Stockport-born 18-year-old play for City against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup in Houston last summer. He had not long before helped England reach the European Under-17 Championship final and was later to be named player of the tournament as they took the world crown at that same age-group level. A graceful left-footed playmaker he has the potential to go far but will it be at City? Guardiola likes what he sees and will want to give him more than a cameo appearance or two.

Another player pushing for a place is Brahim Diaz, the 18-year-old Spanish attacking midfielder of Moroccan parentage. Diaz has featured in eight matches this season while starting just one of them, in the Carabao Cup against Leicester in December.

Benjamin Mendy, who came on as a substitute in last week’s 5-0 demolition job against Swansea, must be a candidate to play from the outset in the final phase. Mendy has been working his way back from a September knee injury.

The situation regarding John Stones has become complicated. Once the golden boy of City’s future, the elegant defender has seen his season scrambled by injuries and a loss of form. The World Cup is looming and Stones is in need of minutes, if he can prove his fitness.

But the story this term has been about the number of different ways City can thrash the opposition seemingly without lifting a finger. That they have done it with a wide variety of match winners makes the achievement all the more admirable.

Those who have not watched much Premier League football over the years will doubtless argue for the modern- day Manchester City incarnation to be considered the finest the division has seen. The statistics might, when all is analysed, support the case. I think such debates are properly settled only in the fullness of time. For now, whether you follow them or not, it is best just to sip and savour.

FOX Sports, the exclusive World Cup rights holder in the USA, this week confirmed their broadcasting line-up for this summer’s tournament.

It is a great privilege to have been invited to commentate for US viewers along with Aly Wagner, one of the best players in the global women’s game throughout the 2000s. Wagner brings a strong work ethic and a commitment to excellence that I have enjoyed in rehearsal matches in preparation for the tournament. She will be the first woman to serve as a TV match analyst for a men’s World Cup in the English-speaking world and has been selected completely on merit.

It has got me thinking about women as football co-commentators and opinion makers on UK TV. Why are there so few? After all, for many years we have heard insightful dissections of events from Sam Smith on tennis and Maureen Madill on golf.

It has been heartening to see former England internationals, Rachel Finnis-Brown, Sue Smith and Kelly Smith given roles as pundits for BT Sport, as well as on the BBC. Kelly Smith incidentally will work in the studio for Fox in Russia.

How about in Scotland? Is it not about time we heard more from our own women footballers? I know from listening to Off The Ball, that the country’s record caps holder Gemma Fay speaks intelligently and articulately about most subjects, including football. Rachel Corsie, currently developing her game with the Utah Royals in the USA’s NWSL is someone else well worth listening to. There will be many more.

I hope my co-commentator’s appointment by Fox Sports serves as inspiration to women back home that the World Cup on television need not be a man’s game.