On the road to securing a hat trick of Premier League titles, being eight points behind the current leaders Liverpool isn’t really the most ideal position to be in.
But in years gone by, Manchester City have defied the odds and come out victorious from much stickier situations than this one.
In 2012, City were eight points behind neighbours United with just a handful of games left in the season. Now every football fan in the world knows how dramatically that season ended. With one of the most iconic Premier League moments of all time, and perhaps the most dramatic finish to any season in English football.
In more recent memory, City found themselves eight points behind Liverpool in December of last season. With Jurgen Klopp looking to have perfected his desired Liverpool squad with a roster of outstanding players, there were murmurings around the country that Liverpool could finally win their first Premier League title. But after ending the season with a 14-game winning run, Guardiola secured his second English League title in just three years.
Back to the present day, and City have encountered more problems in the first two and a half months of the 2019/20 Premier League season than they have in the past two seasons.
Long term injuries to important players like Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte have undoubtedly hindered City’s strength at both ends of the pitch.
The absence of Laporte specifically has affected City more than the absence of Sane. The injury he sustained against Brighton in August has highlighted how light City are in defence without him. With the departure of long-term captain Vincent Kompany, and the injury prone John Stones in and out of the team, City needed Laporte fit for the whole season.
For the last few weeks, City have had to rely on Nicolas Otamendi and the experienced Fernandinho to step into the centre back position to hold the defence together.
Whilst not being the ideal centre back pairing for City, both Otamendi and Fernandinho have done a fairly good job so far. The matches against Norwich and Wolves didn’t exactly cover both in any glory but aside from those blips, this makeshift defensive line has not been a disaster as some City fans imagined it would be.
But it goes without saying that City will be defensively stronger with Laporte back.
The next fixture for City after the latest international break is an away trip to Selhurst Park for an evening showdown with Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.
Most City fans would agree with me saying that Selhurst Park is not the easiest of places to play for City. Due to Liverpool’s relentless perfect start to the season, every game for City is a must win. City can’t afford to drop any more points, because its looking like Liverpool won’t be dropping any points anytime soon.
🗣 Paul Scholes on the best manager in the world:
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) October 18, 2019
Palace have had a good start to their season and currently sit in 6th place in the table. They are playing off the back of an impressive 2-1 win against West Ham at the London Stadium.
Palace face City after already beating a Manchester club this season. The unexpected 2-1 win against United at Old Trafford showed juts how dangerous Palace can be and cause an upset.
For the rest of the season now, the longer Liverpool are ahead, the pressure will always be on City to keep up and regain their title.
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