Blues in turmoil after Spurs defeat and financial rule breach charges
Man City has worked hard for years to stay at the top of their game, with 8 Premier League victories. However, the current Premier League title race doesn’t seem to be going so much in favor of the team, thanks to their performance and out-of-competition issues. The EPL’s decision to charge Manchester City for allegedly breaking the financial rules, combined with the determination for no reinforcements in January and the unprecedented departure of Joao Cancelo, made things complicated for Manchester Blues. Pep Guardiola’s statements give the impression that the coach has written off the season despite Erling Haaland’s 27 goals and the fact that this season is far from over. Here, we’ll discuss the critical matches in February that will determine whether City can slam the EPL door.
City decided not to be active in January
Pep Guardiola already warned that it would be a silent January, which was exactly what happened as the board decided not to bring any reinforcements. This isn’t much of a shocker since every player on Pep Guardiola's team fights for his place, and the coach has numerous options in every position. However, the recent exit of the team’s defender is not to be ignored.
At first glance, Cancelo's sudden departure weakens City, but Guardiola has been motivated to make a defensive lineup change by his confidence in Ake and Lewis. Cancelo's Premier League schedule reads 17 appearances and 16 starts as of this writing. However, his recent slump in performance, combined with the emergence of Nathan Ake and Rico Lewis, has led to a surprising shuffle.
Guardiola grew tired of defender Joao Cancelo's behavior, prompting his loan transfer to Bayern Munich. Also, some staff under Guardiola felt the Portuguese defender's lack of interest in team meetings affected the team’s January performance. Given his status as one of the best in his position, Cancelo's loan to Bayern is one of the major highlights of the transfer window and a huge surprise.
Pep insists on the team’s inability to reach the last year's standards
Pep Guardiola has insisted on the inability of his team to reach last year’s standard and appears desperate for a possible win in the EPL. In fact, after January's disappointing 2-1 loss to archrivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Manchester City manager admitted that his team "cannot win" the Premier League.
After the match, he pointed out a couple of ways his team was out of form and how it affected their performance. He had even mentioned not being surprised by the team’s loss to Southampton at the Carabao cup.
However, this has not stopped bookies from making predictions, insisting on a possible Manchester City conquest. What’s more, fans are eager to place bets on UK operators by bookmakers.bet, as they consider Citizens will wrap up the trophy in their bags.
February will be crucial ahead of title expectations
The February fixtures did not start well for Manchester City, as they lost against Tottenham on Sunday. That defeat raises the need for players to step up their performance, and Man City will have to buckle up if they must redeem their dignity this season. The team is currently second in the table, with 5 points against Arsenal, and as a result, the team must win all February matches if they seek a chance at taking the crown for the 2022-2023 EPL.
Considering the teams they are up against this February, every match will be a tough battle, and their form might cause significant setbacks if they don’t augment. Between February 12 and February 25, the team will compete in four matches:
Sunday, February 12th: Man City vs Aston Villa
This match is expected to be challenging for Manchester City. City and Villa played a 1-1 draw at Villa Park in September. Since then, Aston Villa has changed a lot, and the advert of Unai Emery as a new head coach improved the team and made it hard to play against. The Villans sit eleventh on the table and have almost secured their presence in the 2023-2024 Premier League.
As this is the first of four matches for the month, Man City must come out victorious and remain geared up for the remaining three.
Wednesday, February 15th: Arsenal vs Man City
Undoubtedly, this is the most significant match for Manchester City to reduce the gap between them and Arsenal and reach closer to the top of the table. The entire 90 minutes are expected to be tough, and going by Pep’s utterances so far; it might be safe to assume that he is looking forward to a victory over the Gunners, but it might only require Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez leveling up to save the day. This will likely be the most watched match this February, and Man City will unquestionably be under a lot of pressure to prove themselves.
Saturday, February 18th: Man City vs Nottingham Forest
Nottingham may not be leading the table as it is currently in the 13th position, but it is sure to fight as hard as possible. With Steve Cooper believing the team still has a chance at climbing higher up the table, this might be a tight match for Man City. However, on the surface, Nottingham isn’t much of a threat, although Man City must ensure that they win this match regardless. Plus, every game plays a role in determining whether Manchester City repeats history by claiming the EPL title.
Saturday, February 25th: Bournemouth vs Man City
The fourth and final Man City Men's fixture for the month will see them face Bournemouth, currently ranked 19. This is one of those matches where the expected result is almost apparent, so there is little or nothing to fear on the part of Man City. With little or no effort to motivate the team, Guardiola is almost sure that his form is strong enough to crush Bournemouth come February 25th. Still, City fans need to keep our fingers crossed, as a loss on the part of Manchester City will be a shocker and can affect the team's chances of becoming the season’s winner.