Guardiola's City Struggle: Premier League Title Defense at Risk
|(L-R) Jack Grealish of Manchester City, Josep Guardiola of Manchester City. during the UEFA Champions League match between Sevilla v Manchester City at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on September 6, 2022 in Sevilla Spain(Image-Getty)
The English Premier League, which is considered to be the most competitive domestic sports competition in the world, has been turned upside down by Manchester City after Pep Guardiola took over. The league's current hat-trick champions have failed to win the title just once in the last six seasons.
However, this time before the halfway point of the season, City are facing a tough challenge to retain the title. Guardiola's team has drawn three consecutive matches in the league. The weakness of the Manchester club's defense was evident in the three matches where they dropped points against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. They scored 8 goals in those three matches.
City has dropped to third in the points table after three consecutive draws. The team has 30 points in 14 matches. Arsenal is at the top with 33 points in equal matches, Liverpool is second with 31 points.
In this situation, City has to face another tough fight. Guardiola's side face Unai Emery's Aston Villa in the league tonight. Villa in great form are breathing down their necks with just 1 point behind City; On top of that, the game is in Villa's field.
But Guardiola is still confident his side will win the Premier League four times in a row. Asked about City's chances of retaining the league title at the pre-match press conference yesterday, the 52-year-old coach said, 'I think we are going to win the Premier League. If we can keep up the quality of football we played against Liverpool and Tottenham, we can do it again. I know, the work will not be easy at all.
After Guardiola became City coach in 2016, the main battle was with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. In the last two seasons, City trailed Liverpool by 1 point.
Arteta's Arsenal also struggled admirably last season. Arsenal had raised hopes of winning the league after more than a century and a half. In all, 248 days were at the top of the points list. It is the team that comes to the end of the season and twists the cup. The Gunners lost the top spot in an incredible slump from the beginning of April to the middle of May. At this time, City confirmed to retain the league title by winning 8 matches in a row. Maybe because Guardiola's team has managed to overcome difficult situations again and again, he is so optimistic this time.
Kelvin Phillips left Leeds United and joined Manchester City last year. Despite spending almost one and a half seasons, he could not shine for the Citizens. Guardiola's starting XI therefore remains a kind of bratya. In this season, he got a chance to play only 89 minutes in four matches in the league. Every time he had to come down as a substitute.
It is heard that Phillips will leave City in January next winter. Asked if the 28-year-old defensive midfielder will get another chance in the starting XI before he leaves the club, Guardiola said, 'Yes, (today against Villa) he has a chance to play. What the players do in practice in the afternoon (local time); How it feels, must see first. How will the eleventh be, I will decide tomorrow.