BREAKING: Man City’s next three fixtures will give Pep Guardiola what he wants
After beating Sevilla, City have a demanding run of fixtures over the next week or so.
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 03: Erling Haaland of Manchester City celebrates with team mates after scoring during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park on September 03, 2022 in Birmingham, England.
City can benefit from a demanding run of fixtures
Manchester City find themselves in the middle of their toughest early season schedule for quite some time, and that’s a good thing.
City have made an impressive start to the campaign, taking 14 points from their opening six Premier League outings without suffering defeat. Those points weren’t handed to them either; often tricky trips to West Ham and Newcastle were negotiated, and they had to fight back from two goals down to beat a Crystal Palace side that caused them plenty of issues last season.
Now though things arguably get even tougher; after their 4-0 Champions League victory in Seville Pep Guardiola’s side will host Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium, a team that beat City both home and away in 2021/22.
Some City fans — and defenders — still see Son Heung-min and Harry Kane in their nightmares, such was the way their clinical finishing and counter-attacking threat hurt City in a 3-2 defeat back in February.
After Spurs comes Borussia Dortmund, a side that while not the force they were a few years ago, can still cause plenty of damage even if Erling Haaland is playing in sky blue rather than yellow. If City found it tricky to contain Jude Bellingham back in spring 2021, then they could be in for a tough evening next week.
A date with Wolves follows; while on paper Bruno Large’s side might not pose the biggest threat, the fact that the trip to Molineux comes less than 72 hours after City’s midweek excursions will make the assignment all the more difficult.
While the run of fixtures may not be the toughest in the world, the regularity of games this early in the season poses quite the challenge. However, as City found out last season, testing oneself early on the in the campaign has its advantages.
In September 2021, City were confronted with a ‘week from hell’ — league meetings with Chelsea and Liverpool either side of a Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain, all away from home.
Supporters feared the worst when a defensively concerning 6-3 defeat of RB Leipzig and a frustrating 0-0 draw with Southampton preceded the challenge, but ultimately City fared pretty well.
A 1-0 win at Chelsea re-established City’s title credentials, before a disappointing loss in Paris was followed by a thrilling 2-2 draw at Anfield. One win from three games might not seem great, but the three games got City up to speed in both competitions after a patchy start to the campaign.
Taking on Spurs, Dortmund and Wolves could give City another boost before the international break, after which they jump straight into a derby day showdown with Manchester United. If City are to compete on four fronts then they are going to have to navigate tricky games at some point — they might as well get used to is as soon as possible.