Man City face handy run of fixtures to get title challenge back on track
Last night’s defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United handed Pep Guardiola a statistic that no manager wants: it’s now the worst run of the Spaniard’s career in the dugout. Never before has Pep gone six games without a win in all competitions, and you’d have to go back to December 2008 to find the last time the Manchester City experienced the kind of form they’re currently in.
But despite the seemingly ever-growing negativity surrounding the Etihad in recent weeks, in truth it’s not all doom and gloom for the two-time Premier League winners.
Ladbrokes News takes a look at what could be a pivotal four games for City and Guardiola in their quest for the title.
October 29 – West Bromwich Albion (A)
Despite playing away from home, City’s record against the Baggies suggests we can expect nothing less than a first win in seven for them.
Of the last 36 points available to them in this fixture, West Brom have picked up just one, conceding 29 goals in those 12 games while scoring just seven.
Though Tony Pulis’ men have enjoyed a fairly solid start to the season, finding themselves in a respectable 13th-place, they are without a win in four games – and a fixture against the league leaders arguably couldn’t have come at a worse time.
November 5 – Middlesbrough (H)
Up next for City in the league after a trip to the Midlands is the visit of top-flight returnees Middlesbrough.
Though they enjoyed an exciting summer jam-packed with big-name signings, things haven’t quite gone according to plan for the Teessiders this season.
Currently sitting in 17th-place, Aitor Karanka’s men are have failed to win any of their last eight outings in all competitions, although a 0-0 draw last time out against Arsenal will give Boro some confidence.
Without question, this is another game in which Guardiola will be expecting to pick up maximum points from, certainly given that it’s the only game of these four fixtures which will be at the Etihad.
November 19 – Crystal Palace (A)
Similarly to the Baggies, Crystal Palace are another side that seem to struggle against the Citizens, with one win and 10 defeats to their name in their last 11 meetings with the Manchester outfit.
It hasn’t been the worst of starts for Alan Pardew’s side this year, but Eagles fans are expecting their team to push on and challenge for a top-half finish this campaign, and as things stand, inconsistency is holding them back.
As for Guardiola’s side, however, they could be heading into this one with back-to-back wins under their belt. And should that be the case, they’ll most certainly want to keep that momentum going.
November 26 – Burnley (A)
Rounding off this quartet of fixtures is a short trip to Premier League strugglers Burnley. And it’ll come as no surprise to you to learn that the home side have a dreadful record against their upcoming opponents.
Aside from a surprise 1-0 victory at Turf Moor back in 2015, you’d have to go back 42 years to find the last time the Clarets defeated City.
Though their home record this season has been impressive (defeating both Liverpool and Everton while almost holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw), this is the kind of game City need to go out and dominate from the off if they are to stand any chance of winning the title.
That’s something they’ve done on several occasions in the past against the Lancashire outfit too, scoring three or more goals in six of their last nine meetings.
In short, though it’s still early days, this run of fixtures may just decide Man City’s whole season. Can they win all four on the bounce? Supporters will certainly be hoping so, but they’ll need to take one game at a time, beginning with a trip to the Hawthorns, where they’re 4/9 to get back to winning ways.
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