Lauren reserves judgement on Man City's invincible credentials
Manchester City must get through English football's gruelling winter period before being talked about as potential heirs to Arsenal's 2003-04 "Invincibles", according to ex-Gunners defender Lauren.
Former Cameroon international Lauren was part of Arsene Wenger's side when they completed the incredible feat of going through a 38-game season unbeaten en route to Premier League glory.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are almost a third of a way to the same accomplishment after winning 11 and drawing one of their opening 12 top-flight games this season.
City travel to Huddersfield Town on Sunday and host Southampton next week before a hectic schedule of nine games across three competitions in December.
"I think it's too early to say," Lauren told Omnisport when asked whether Wenger's finest achievement could be matched.
"When you combine December and January, there's a lot of games. Then comes the Champions League in February.
"If Manchester City are capable of sustaining this level of performance and win those games, then at the end of February you can say that they could do it.
"It's that period that really shows you whether they can do it. In football anything can happen."
City have plundered 55 goals across all competitions so far this term and Lauren concedes there are some parallels between Guardiola's men and Arsenal's formally swashbuckling attack featuring the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Fredrik Ljungberg.
"They're different periods and different generations," he said. "It's a different style of play.
"People talk about how Guardiola likes a good passing game, but when they win the ball, they go and counter-attack quick. This is essential in the Premier League.
"I think there are some parallels between us and them, in that when they win the ball they attack quickly. This makes it more exciting to watch. They have a lot of possession, but they play fast."
Aside from individual and collective brilliance, mental toughness is vital for any side chasing their place in history and the steel shown by Arsenal during Lauren's playing days is something he reflects upon with particular fondness.
"There were so many great memories," he added. "I remember many games that we were losing at half-time, or we were just in a difficult situation.
"But the team always had the strength to come up and sort out the situation, which shows what kind of character we had in that dressing room.
"People never gave up, and they always believed we could turn a situation around. For me, that was one of the key successes in that year."