No wins in four have City playing catchup

We are used to seeing Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City steamroll through teams at will. Goals, assists and attractive football are the usual themes in any 90 minutes of City games. However, for the last month they have been below par.

Four Premier League games without a win, three draws and an away defeat to Aston Villa has the champions six points off Arsenal in third place, with rivals Manchester United three points below too. A staggering development given the nature of City’s one sided win at Old Trafford in October.

It is clear that the standard of the Premier League has increased this season. Every team at the top seem to be pushing themselves until the very end to grab late goals, and late points. This is something that Manchester City have been on the end of in the past few weeks. Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have all stolen points away from Guardiola’s side late on, whilst Aston Villa defeated City with a marvellous display creating 22 goal attempts.

City have suffered three defeats to Arsenal, Wolves and Aston Villa. There is very little room for error going forward now. The level of competitiveness this season has brought City to a point where not only are they playing catch-up on Arsenal and Liverpool, but they will be looking over their shoulders at those below.

In the last three Premier League seasons, Manchester City have lifted the trophy and are in search for a fourth consecutive title win – a Premier League record. It is not unusual for Pep’s City to start slow and switch into gear in the run in, however they need to be wary of the strength of their title rivals.

The last time City were not crowned as champions was in 2019/20, where Liverpool ran away with the title. Even so, Manchester City finished runners up but lost a staggering nine league games in the process.

The following campaign, City won the league, by 12 points but still suffered six defeats in 38 games, drawing five also. City were far and away the best side in 2020/21, with Manchester United their closest competitors.

In 2021/22 Manchester City and Liverpool fought until the death for the trophy, with the season coming down to the final game. Manchester City squeezed past Aston Villa to win the league in extraordinary circumstances. This was a season, like this current one where the demands were high and any dropped points would be seized upon. In fact Liverpool only lost two games all season. City lost three, but still pipped the Reds by one point.

Last season, City beat Arsenal to the title by five points, and lost five of their 38 games. This was another edgy battle between two at the top, but yet again City held their nerve and came out on top. Arsenal could not quite hold it together, but are using their experience of last season to try and go one better in this current campaign.

Overall, a more competitive title race can results in those key dropped points being seen as far more costly, and detrimental. City have been on the right side of pouncing on their rivals’ flaws but with already three defeats under the belt so far, they will have to be at the top of their game to clinch another league.

Arsenal and Liverpool and dare to say Aston Villa are proving that this is more than a two horse race this year meaning there is added pressure ion every game of football. No room for slip ups, but Manchester City need to be careful otherwise they will fall victims to the same fate they have brought on other teams in recent years.

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