Manchester City have the opportunity to win the Premier League title with six games to spare in the derby against Manchester United on Saturday.
For the second team in Manchester it would be some accomplishment given the amount of games that are remaining in what has… or should I say, had, been an excellent season.
Pep Guardiola’s side currently boast a 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League in early April. However, cup competitions have left something to desire this season.
The Citizens were eliminated in the FA Cup at the hands of League One side Wigan Athletic back in February – the same side that shocked them in the 2013 final.
Then midweek they were humiliated 3-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final leaving them on the verge of elimination from the competition that they crave the most. Y’know, the one we’ve won three times.
With that said, here are five reasons why I am not expecting a Manchester City win at the Etihad tomorrow:
Whether the players were intimidated by the fan attack on the team bus or not, the 3-0 loss at Liverpool on Wednesday was devastating for Manchester City. Some will say they head into the weekend with a chip on their shoulder but I see this result as having a negative affect on the team.
Yes, Pep Guardiola is always positive and a great motivator, but the players will have that defeat from a few days ago and the second leg a few days away, on their mind.
2. Champions League second leg
On that note, Manchester City will be looking to turnaround the 0-3 first leg score on Tuesday night when they host Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final. Not only will this be on the players’ minds, but the manager too. Pep Guardiola could easily rest the majority of starters over the weekend to make sure they’re fully fit and well-rested for the visit of Liverpool.
3. Jose Mourinho
Our boss is a master tactician and he’ll have his ways to close down the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva – two players who had no influence against Liverpool on Saturday. And you can be sure that he’ll be wanting to recreate what Jurgen Klopp’s attack did to the City defence too.
Whether it’s the counter attack like Liverpool’s first goal, long range efforts like their second or crosses into the box like their third, Mourinho has players who are capable of pulling this off.
4. Sergio Aguero
Manchester City’s all-time top scorer has been out of action for a month with a knee injury and Pep Guardiola confirmed in his press conference that he still doesn’t know if the Argentine striker will be available for Saturday’s game. Sergio Aguero will undergo a late fitness test to determine whether he can face us or not. I do not expect him to start but he’ll probably get a second half run out to build up his fitness before Tuesday.
Without him midweek Manchester City did not produce a single shot on target against Loris Karius. Gabriel Jesus is the starting striker in Aguero’s absence and the Brazilian doesn’t have much effect on games. So far during his Premier League career he’s replied on supply to score the goals.
Jose Mourinho has confirmed that backup goalkeeper Sergio Romero is only our absentee heading into the derby. Granted, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind are all only just back and may not be ready to start. However, we’ve had the week off to prepare for this match and Jose will have known days ago which players and formation he’ll be using.
Meanwhile, City were in action on Wednesday so will have only been able to prepare on Thursday and today. On top of that, Aguero is a doubt, Fabian Delph and John Stones are only just back so he doesn’t have his first team fully available. If he is to rest players ahead of their Champions League second leg the players coming into the team haven’t had long to prepare.
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