For many Manchester City fans, the 2019/20 has been a long and disappointing season. Pep Guardiola’s men currently sit 25 points adrift of runway league leaders Liverpool. Having been ridiculed in defeats to Norwich City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, neighbors Manchester United and title favorites Liverpool. Although many are of the opinion that the Reds deserve to end their thirty year wait for a Premier League title, due to their scintillating performances, some pundits have been critical about City’s performances so far and haven’t put in efforts worthy of a third consecutive Premier League crown.
The current Premier League season has also shown it’s light on the masterclass of some of City’s players; the impressive performances of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez serving as positives to draw from the season. Pep Guardiola has had to deal with a lot at the helm recently – squad rotations, poor league results and a potential two year ban from the UEFA Champions League. The Spaniard has indicated that young gun – Phil Foden, will replace legend; David Silva at the end of his ten year stay at the club, but there are fears that even that won’t solve the problem of inconsistency they have endured thus far.
Regardless of the current league standings, Manchester City have still been flexing their muscles – having scored the most league goals this season (68). The Cityzens have run riots in 8-0 and 6-1 wins over Watford and Aston Villa respectively, but many City supporters are bothered by the fact that the squad fails to deliver the goals when it matters. For Instance, City have lost their dominance in Manchester, losing twice to neighbors United and conceding four goals in the process. Whereas, they beat United 3-2 on aggregate in the Carabao semi finals; a competition they later went on to win. Pep Guardiola has once stated that the quality of a team’s performance is usually determined by their league performance, which means that judging from his own standards, City could be doing a lot better.
Unlike other clubs in the top six, Manchester City haven’t had a regular front three. Arsenal’s front three has majorly consisted of the Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Ivorian sensation Nicolas Pepe. Jurgen Klopp regularly chooses to play Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah while City’s rivals United have had Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James upfront for majority of the season.
Manchester City have been the authors of their apparent downfall in the current season due to their recurrent squad selection crisis. In the position of a top marksman, The Cityzens aren’t lacking with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus equal and up to the task, but in the areas of wide men on the flanks, Pep is faced with a dilemma of choices; having to select from Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and even Leroy Sané who recently returned from injury, for only two positions.
The fate of some of Manchester City’s super stars lie in the hands of the Court of Arbitration’s final discernment in their potential two year Champions League ban. Pep may not be able to hold on to key players like Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero if they aren’t able to overturn the ruling. The 2019/20 season could be City’s chance to make an impression on the UEFA Champions League which is why Guardiola isn’t taking any Champions League ties lightly. Their comeback win in Madrid over three months ago was just a tip off the iceberg, showing what The Cityzens are capable of in such decisive games.
Pep Guardiola will be racking his brains in the transfer market to patch up his plucky defense line which has shipped in 31 goals this season. Whatever the case may be, the future of City surely hangs in the balance.