Blues may avoid facing another top six side until mid-March
Manchester City have won only once in their last four league outings, but their fixture list presents them with a great chance to steal one of the top four places.
Pep Guardiola’s side are currently fifth in the table, only two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool. Their next three league games are against West Ham, Swansea, and Bournemouth: all winnable games on paper.
The Citizens have an FA Cup tie next weekend against Crystal Palace, followed by a visit to West Ham’s Olympic Stadium. Palace have won only once since Sam Allardyce took charge, while West Ham have already lost 3-1 and 5-0 to City earlier this season. City are heavy favourites to win their next two games, irrespective of form. In fact, the Manchester City betting odds for their next two games are stacked heavily in the Citizens’ favour.
Moreover, provided Manchester United make it to the EFL Cup final, City won’t face a top six club until after mid-March.
Should City win their five relatively easy league games before hosting Liverpool on 18th March, they will be well-set for a run of three games which include the Liverpool game followed by visits to Arsenal and Chelsea.
City’s performance against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend merited more than the one point they got, and that performance could well be the one the Sky Blues needed to kick-start their second half of the season.
With Liverpool stuttering, City have a good chance to overtake the Reds in the top four race since Jürgen Klopp’s side are yet to visit the Etihad Stadium. Furthermore, City’s run-in consists of games against Southampton, West Brom, Middlesbrough, Palace, Leicester, and Watford. Those aren’t the toughest games, hence the expectation will still be on City to make it into the top four come the season’s end.
However, one sticking point could be the European games that could hinder City’s prospects of making the top four. Provided they beat Monaco in the round of 16, another set of games will be added to the fixture list, and that could make things a bit more difficult for Guardiola. Given the extent of injuries City have had this season, it is easy to see why more games could be less rewarding for them.
The season has quite a while to run from now until May, and City have it on their hands to qualify for next season’s Champions League. They have winnable games coming up, and their run-in looks easily navigable. It is their fixture list that gives City hope in the top four race.