After four games of the 2023/24 Premier League season, things arguably couldn’t get any better for Manchester City fans. The team boasts the only 100% record in the English football league system. A decent draw in the Champions League means Pep Guardiola won’t be losing too much sleep over banana skins in the Group Stage. Erling Haaland also looks like he is picking up from where he left off last season. Six league goals for Haaland make him top scorer, and he will probably stay there for the rest of the season.
City’s imperious start has bookmakers in agreement that yet another title is in the bag. They have been shaved down to 4/9 in the Premier League odds for the 2023/24 season. As you might imagine, they are favourites for the Champions League and FA Cup too. And yes, we are starting to hear the rumbles in the media of another treble – or a quadruple – to be completed this season. It’s all understandable, although you’d expect Guardiola to rebuff such talk until we are in the business side of the campaign in spring.
City had a relatively easy start to the season
Nonetheless, we should say that City fans should not be complacent. The start has been fine, yes, but City have also been handed a favourable fixture list. Winning against Newcastle at the Etihad was a good result, but the performance was not perfect. The other victories – against Burnley, Sheffield United and Fulham – were over some of the Premier League’s weaker teams. And there were moments that saw City under pressure.
Going forward, City have a decent run of games, with West Ham, Nottingham Forest, and Wolves providing the opposition to close out September. Would anyone be surprised to see ‘perfect’ City on 21 points? You can be sure the double-treble talk will grow if that occurs. But after that, the real fun starts. On 8th October, City will visit the Emirates for a crunch game against Arsenal. That’s followed by games against Brighton and the Manchester Derby. City have a home game against Bournemouth on 4th November, then it’s Chelsea (a), Liverpool (h), Spurs (h), and Aston Villa away on Boxing Day.
Travel to Saudi will be disruptive
That’s a brutal run of fixtures across the autumn and early winter. And don’t forget that City must also factor in a trip to Saudi Arabia for the World Club Cub in December in the middle of that schedule. The point we are making is that the period will test City’s credentials, perhaps showing just how imperious they really are. More than anything, it will provide a true barometer of City’s strength relative to the other title contenders. Some of those teams have stuttered in the early part of the season, but it’s almost certain that they will improve.
None of this is meant to suggest that City will struggle – far from it. In fact, we totally agree that City deserve to be odds-on for the 2023/24 Premier League title. However, it’s been a relatively straightforward start to the campaign. United, for example, had to travel to North London twice to play Arsenal and Spurs in their opening four games, whereas Liverpool have already faced Chelsea and have had tough trips to Villa Park and St James Park. There’s a long way to go this season. The favourites look impressive, but nobody should be counting the title as a done deal just yet.