September: Is it Make or Break Month for Pep’s Manchester City?
Despite the premier league being a marathon nine-month season, the opening four weeks, with no midweek games and teams having full weeks rest to prepare -will feel like a walk in the park.
September is when the competition really starts and reality hits for teams with smaller squads. For City, this means the return of midweek games in the Champions League which will see visits from Europe’s elite, plus City start the defence of the Carabao Cup at Oxford United.
In total, the blues will play five more games in September, three of which will be at the Etihad. Baring in mind the Premier League does not resume till the 15th, City will play games virtually every three days.
In my latest post, I look at how September could prove crucial for the blues and how it could be for City’s title credentials and hopes of progression in the Champions League…
15th September: Fulham (H)
You start as you mean to go on, or should intend to anyway. Fulham at home offers the opportunity to convince fans that the 6-1 battering of Huddersfield Town, was no rare occurrence.
If City have dreams of retaining their Premier League crown for the first time, wins against the likes of Fulham should be a nailed on three points.
This game will hopefully see a return to the side for Leroy Sane, hoping he comes back to Manchester with a much-improved attitude. Fulham have collected four points from their first four games, a reasonable return after spending four seasons out of England’s top flight.
Let’s hope they head back to London with no more a week on Saturday.
18th September: Lyon (H)
In the eyes of some, City are on borrowed time to win the ultimate prize in club football – The Champions League.
Having now spent seven years competing in the Champions League, it feels City’s chances of landing their maiden title are a ‘sooner rather than later’ scenario.
City were probably the best side in the competition last season, however, they met their match and fell victim to Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal football – which became City’s worst night of an otherwise incredible season.
Lyon offers a chance to lay down a marker, with the eyes of Europe watching.
Lyon have made a less than convincing start to the Ligue 1 season, losing two of their opening four matches. However, let’s not take Lyon lightly heading into Matchday One. After all: Basel, CSKA Moscow, Celtic and Juventus have all enjoyed success at the Etihad in recent times.