Manchester City’s 4-0 win against Crystal Palace took them to the second spot on the Premier League table. They are just two points off Manchester United who are leading the table with 37 points after 18 games. Manchester City still has a game in hand and can leapfrog Red Devils if they win their midweek game against Aston Villa.
It has been a complete turnaround from Pep Guardiola and his men after a turbulent start to the domestic season. In their 2nd league game of the season, Manchester City was humiliated by Leicester City when the Foxes scored five goals against them to take the three points away.
Apart from Leicester City, the Citizens have failed to win games against the weaker teams like West Brom, West Ham United, and Leeds United. Injuries and self-isolation induced due to Covid-19 have forced City to be without many key players at regular intervals.
The resurgence in the form has helped them to climb from 11th position to 2nd spot only in a few weeks. After their game against Crystal Palace, Pep Guardiola was asked to give his opinion on City’s title race.
“We fought a lot when we were eight points behind before we played Southampton. We fought to be there and we will fight a lot to maintain to be there. Many things will happen, it’s a weird season. That’s why I don’t think about the position in the table, what will happen in the future is rest well and prepare for Aston Villa.”
Manchester City’s Unbeaten Run:
After jumping to the second spot with a game in hand, it is very evident that Man City should be the strongest challenger to Liverpool’s title defence. Manchester City is unbeaten in the last nine Premier League games. Out of these nine, they won seven of them.
The main reason behind their fine form is their robust defending. They have conceded only two goals and scored 19 goals in these nine games. John Stones has found his feet back at Man City.
Before the start of the season, he was the fourth-choice center-back. Currently, his sublime performances are forcing Aymeric Laporte to be out of the first-team. The English international has established a formidable partnership with Ruben Diaz, who joined City this summer. Stones and Diaz have started 10 games together this season and maintained a clean sheet nine times. Pep Guardiola is lacking the firepower up-front which is usually associated with his team. But, if his team is not conceding, even 1-0 will help them earn 3 points.
This is the strategy that Man City has been doing this season. Pep said “We are a team we try to play the same like the last seasons but this season the back four we don’t make mistakes. In the past last season we make a lot of mistakes to give the opponents goals. This season if they score goals we applaud them and be solid.
One of the most unpredictable season!
Pep Guardiola believes that this season no team can maintain a good run of form since the end. Uncertainties due to Covid-19 has added a lot of mental and physical pressure on the players and the staff.
We have seen teams scoring 100 or more points in the last two seasons to win the title. This year, it will be completely different. All the teams are finding it tough to win the games continuously.
The top 6 teams of the table are separated by just 5 points! Liverpool is still the favourites to win the league but Man United, Man City, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur all are capable to put up a title challenge. One thing is for sure, this season is destined to have an exciting finish.