Injury-hit Manchester City faces Chelsea and Liverpool away in the Premier League, either side of a Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain over nine days from Saturday. Defeat at Stamford Bridge and Anfield could leave Pep Guardiola’s side nine points off top spot in the table.
September feels too early to be talking about crucial periods in the Premier League. Although, it certainly seems like Manchester City has one coming up.
Over nine days from Saturday. They will play Chelsea and Liverpool away, with a trip to Paris to face Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and coin between.
While there is some wriggle room in their Champions League group. After an opening-round win over RB Leipzig, the pressure is on domestically. Man City is facing the prospect of being as many as nine points off the top of the Premier League. Summit should they lose to both Chelsea and Liverpool.
Also, there is the added difficulty of Pep Guardiola’s selection problems.
Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Rodri, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Ilkay Gundogan all are injured. Also, the City boss turned to several academy players for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win over Wycombe.
Guardiola also took the chance to rest fit key figures such as Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo. Also, at the same time, he will need his first-choice players ready for action come this weekend.
These fitness concerns come after City began the season knowingly undercooked. They had no fewer than 17 first-team players involved in Euros and Copa Americ. They were the last Premier League side to return to pre-season training as a result.
After eight games last season, they were 11th in the Premier League table. Also, went on to win just five of their first 12 fixtures.
What followed was remarkable: a 21-game winning streak. Depends on which included 15 straight victories in the Premier League. With their rivals faltering. It was a run of form which propelled City towards the Premier League title.
Such an exploit is unlikely to be repeated and the increased strength of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United means City will have far sterner competition at the top end of the table.
That makes this triple-header – as early as it is – a key moment in the campaign.