Surprise, surprise. Man City are fighting on multiple fronts heading into the final stretch of the season.
Despite the addition of goalscoring phenom Erling Haaland, it hasn’t been plain sailing for Pep Guardiola’s side this term. Nevertheless, they’re still in a great position to enjoy an incredibly productive campaign.
Their stuttering form at times means they’re the hunters in the Premier League title race for the first time in a while. They’re five points behind leaders Arsenal with 11 games to go. Guardiola also has the FA Cup – a competition he’s won once – and the Champions League – the trophy that’s eluded him in Manchester – to consider, but he’s certainly blessed with a deep enough squad to compete successfully on multiple fronts.
Here’s what City’s schedule looks like after Tuesday night’s Champions League mauling of RB Leipzig.
This is a narrative-laden FA Cup fifth-round tie as Vincent Kompany returns to the Etihad for the first time as a manager. The Belgian’s Burnley side are poised to return to the Premier League as Championship victors next season, and this will be an intriguing measuring stick to see where the Clarets are at.
Everybody expects City to advance, but Kompany’s new-look Burnley could surprise a few even if they don’t cause an upset.
The Citizens are not in Premier League action again until the start of April thanks to the March international break. God, we haven’t missed those.
Nevertheless, the Premier League returns with a bang as the two great sides of the top flight’s recent history collide at the Etihad. Liverpool’s issues this term means they’re not fighting for the title, but a top-four spot is within reach.
The Reds have been mightily inconsistent, and they may well be saving their best for Guardiola’s side.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints often caused City a bit of grief, and even Nathan Jones had success against the Citizens during his disastrous tenure.
There’s something about St. Mary’s that just doesn’t quite sit right with the champions. Nevertheless, they can ill-afford to drop points in a contest like this given Arsenal’s current form.
Leicester’s counter-attacking potency of yesteryear used to give Guardiola migraine after migraine. There were times when the Foxes simply blew City apart in transition.
However, this is not the Leicester of old. They’re in dire straits and the possibility of relegation is genuine. Brendan Rodgers has become overly reliant on James Maddison in attack, and it’s hard to envisage City having too many problems combatting the visitors’ threat in this one.
City supporters have fond memories of the Amex seeing as it was the ground where City secured the Premier League title in 2019.
Brighton have improved considerably since then, however, and there’s no doubt many will look at this fixture as a potential banana skin for the title chasers. Roberto De Zerbi has masterfully built on the foundations led by Graham Potter and is hoping to guide the club into Europe for the first time ever.
The tricky test on the south coast arrives just days before the big one. The reverse fixture at the Emirates, which City won 3-1, will pale in comparison to the significance of this bout at the Etihad.
Arsenal’s current form suggests this may well be a title decider, and City will have the benefit of playing on home soil. The Gunners haven’t won at the Etihad since 2015, but Mikel Arteta’s side have made a habit of breaking barriers and defying the odds this season.
We’re already counting down the days until the Premier League’s top two meet in Manchester.