Can anyone challenge Manchester City this season?
After consecutive years of heavy spending and investment in Manchester, we may have finally reached the time where City climbs to the top of the mountain and go all the way both domestically and internationally. The challenge is huge and it’s true we’re still in the early stages of the season, but judging by the maturity and the quality this City team has been showing so far, we can’t help but to take a leap of faith on them this year! Their next league match against Arsenal is going to be one of the toughest tests they’ve had in almost 3 months of competition and it’s going to be extremely interesting to see these two sides clashing at the Etihad. If we look carefully into any Arsenal match report from this season, we can see Arsene Wenger’s men always ended their games with more possession than their opponents. The same thing has happened for City in all their fixtures in this campaign…
Pep Guardiola’s first year in England wasn’t easy and the best he could deliver was a 3rd place in the Premier League. He won roughly 60% of his league matches last season (23 out of 38) and probably understood exactly what his team was lacking to dominate a very competitive such as the Premier League. This year, Man City has been truly unstoppable in all fronts, winning 9 of their first 10 league games (90% win ratio), beating Feyenoord, Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli in their Champions League bouts, and getting past WBA and Wolverhampton in the League Cup. City are also the most prolific attack in England right now (35 goals in 10 games) and are the second best defense (6 goals conceded) in the league, only behind José Mourinho’s Manchester United who have only conceded 4 goals so far. Numbers don’t lie and Pep Guardiola’s team is yet to be beaten this season…
With a 5-point advantage over second place Manchester United in the top of the Premier League and sitting in first place in their UEFA Champions League group, Guardiola is certainly happy to be able to make plans about rotating some of his key players in the weeks ahead. And if there’s anything this City roster doesn’t lack that’s depth! They have talent and versatility in abundance this year and it’s going to be extremely hard to see them slipping throughout the course of this campaign.
Nevertheless, football will always be unpredictable and that’s one of the many reasons why we love this game so much. So which teams exactly can challenge City in Europe? There are several heavyweights in Europe who can actually play toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s side, starting with the back-to-back European champions Real Madrid. They’re not in a very good form right now, but it’s a team of champions who will certainly turn things around in the months to come. There’s also Barcelona, PSG and Bayern Munich, three clubs who are major favorites to reach the Champions League final and that will certainly pose a very serious threat to City if they cross their path.
We didn’t mention any English team in the list above on purpose and that’s because we believe it’s highly unlikely that any of City’s domestic rivals will beat them in the Champions League. We’ll probably see 4 or 5 English teams progressing into the competition’s knockout rounds, but it’s a different ball game when we reach those stages…
Domestically, we predict Manchester City to win the Premier League comfortably and without many upsets. None of their main rivals appears to be capable of challenging them for the title:
– Manchester United won’t be able to keep up with City’s pace and the final blow can be delivered when they meet each other at Old Trafford on December 10.
– Tottenham is right behind them in 3rd place, but they also seem to lack the consistency required to win the league.
– The reigning champions Chelsea are struggling quite a bit this season and they don’t seem to be as strong and as confident as they were last year.
– Arsenal didn’t start the season the best way they could and even though they’ve won 8 of their last 9 matches in all competitions, they still need to improve a lot in order to be a realistic title contender.
– Liverpool has been a big disappointment this season and with the amount of points they have already dropped before we enter November, their title hopes were already crushed.
Sources: askfans.co.uk / goal.com / yahoo.com