Four weeks that could shape the season for Manchester City

By Guest writer, Fri 24 February 2023 13:29

Four weeks that could shape the season for Manchester City 

Despite having suffered a couple of bumps on the road through February, losing the away at Spurs and being held to a draw at Nottingham Forest, key results during the month have also favoured Manchester City at the Premier League summit. Most important of all was beating Arsenal 3-1 away at the Emirates Stadium, which may provide a psychological advantage.

The Gunners have been somewhat inconsistent in recent weeks, so the City victory raises further doubts about their capacity to last the pace. Both sides might also be wise to look over their shoulders, with Manchester United also gaining momentum, as the Red Devils remain within touching distance of the title race.

While they are currently priced as Premier League title favourites, odds continue to fluctuate for Man City heading into their upcoming matches. This means that for anyone wagering on the outcome of games, getting honest and unbiased sports betting reviews can always be advantageous, especially when backed by the insights of industry experts and professional bettors.

Being valued as favourites can be a double-edged sword, and never more so than heading into such a crucial period of the campaign, fighting on three fronts and bidding for success in each competition. Indeed, the next four weeks could shape the difference between success and failure for Manchester City.

Premier League

City are widely tipped to stay the course, on track for their third consecutive Premier League title, although the next four weeks could shape their destiny. First up is Bournemouth away, fighting for their top flight survival, who will inevitably be hoping to claim an important scalp against Guardiola’s men.

Then comes an intriguing home clash against Newcastle United, serious pretenders towards finishing in the top four this season. They have only lost twice during the 2022-23 campaign so far, both times coincidentally against Liverpool, which inevitably makes the Magpies an important hurdle to be overcome in the upcoming fixture schedule.

Selhurst Park is never an easy venue for visiting teams, therefore City will need to be in top form when they take on Crystal Palace, if they are to take three points in the capital. This is followed by West Ham United travelling to the Etihad, utterly desperate for points and scrapping to stay afloat above the relegation zone, which could make them all the more dangerous.

But should City safely navigate all four of those encounters, they will head into March and the contest against Liverpool at home with renewed vigour, throwing down the gauntlet for pretenders to their Premier League throne. Arsenal and Manchester United are the only genuine contenders, although whether they prove worthy claimants for the title, that remains to be seen during the coming weeks.

Champions League

Still considered to be the ‘Holy Grail’ for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, domestic success almost seems to pale by comparison, whenever considering the primary objectives for each season. Winning the Champions League would undoubtedly be his crowning achievement, although thus far, ultimate victory has agonisingly remained just beyond reach.

Losing the 2021 final against Chelsea was a bitter pill to swallow, followed by elimination in the semi-finals against Real Madrid last season, although both would appear to have strengthened City’s resolve and focus this term. Once again, the consensus of opinion at bookmakers is backing the team towards continental triumph, just as it has during previous campaigns.

But this time around, the added edge of having Erling Haaland in attack may prove to be the difference, as City seek their crowning glory. And the Norwegian certainly could be the kingmaker, having scored 5 goals in just 4 appearances in the Champions League, providing his team with a vital missing ingredient lacked in recent attempts.

The next opponent will be RB Leipzig in the Round of 16, with City hopeful they can gain a significant upper hand in the first leg encounter, making the mid-March return leg at the Etihad Stadium a mere formality. But after losing against the Bundesliga side in December 2021, Guardiola has already warned his players against any complacency.

FA Cup

Finally, although by no means least in the grand scheme of things, Manchester City will travel to Ashton Gate in the FA Cup Fifth Round, with Bristol City eager to play the role of David when hosting their own version of Goliath. Of course, they will need much more than a lucky slingshot or two to aid their cause, but giant-killings are what makes this competition so famous.

Therefore if City are to harbour ambitions of lifting the famous old trophy again, having fallen by the wayside in the semi-finals in each of the last three seasons, they will need to be fully alert against the mid-table Championship side. After being surprisingly eliminated from the EFL Cup by Southampton, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted in the pursuit of domestic silverware.

While it may be considered the lesser of three remaining objectives, winning against Bristol City will certainly be regarded as the priority for Manchester City on the day, before turning their attention back towards the bigger prizes on their agenda. Likewise, reaching the final and enjoying a trip to Wembley is always cherished by fans, who will be hoping this competition can form part of a successful treble-winning campaign.