Manchester City’s Blockbuster Month

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Manchester City are still on for an unprecedented quadruple, but they face a bumper month of fixtures this month to achieve their lofty goal. In the Premier League, Liverpool’s dramatic late win over Tottenham has ramped up the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side. The team holds a two-point deficit, but hold a game in hand. In truth, the ‘game in hand’ should always be looked at as an opportunity to catch up.

This month also sees City face a trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semifinal and a domestic Champions League tie with Tottenham. In total, City face eight games in April; nine if they advance to the Champions League semifinals. Here are the April fixtures City will play as they attempt to make history:

April 3rd- Cardiff City (h) Premier League

The big month for City starts on Wednesday night against struggling Cardiff. When the sides met in September, Guardiola’s side stormed to a 5-0 win in Cardiff. Their controversial loss on Sunday to Chelsea felt like a death-blow to Cardiff, who seem unlikely to push City too hard at the Etihad.

Prediction: City 3-0 Cardiff

April 6th- Brighton (n) FA Cup

The only domestic trophy to elude Pep Guardiola at City takes centre stage on Saturday, as City face Brighton in the FA Cup. The previous Wembley semifinal for City ended in a surprise loss to Arsenal two years ago. City will again be overwhelming favorites against Chris Hughton’s Brighton. With the Champions League quarterfinal just three days later, Guardiola face a selection dilemma: Does he pick a weakened team in the Cup, or go all out to secure a place in the Wembley final?

Prediction: City 2-0 Brighton

April 9th- Tottenham (a) Champions League

Three days on, City head for the first ever European tie at the new White Hart Lane. City has beaten Tottenham three times over the last two seasons, however, Spurs have a longer lead time for the tie. City would love to kill the tie in the first leg, however, a tight game looks likely.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 City

April 14th- Crystal Palace (a) Premier League

This could be a pivotal day in the title race with Liverpool hosting Chelsea later the same afternoon. Palace have already beaten City this season and were a late missed penalty from winning the corresponding fixture last season. The combination of stout defence and quick counter-attacking for Palace are well suited to playing City. It was here Liverpool’s 2014 title challenge to City hit the rocks in a dramatic 3-3 draw.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 City

April 17th- Tottenham (h) Champions League

For the home leg of their Champions League clash, the key factor will inevitably be what happened in the first leg. Lyon proved earlier this season City’s confidence at The Etihad in the Champions League isn’t yet as strong as we see in the Premier League. If Spurs win, or at least keep the first leg tight, a strong start might just unnerve the crowd. This will be close and may require extra time, but City should progress.

Prediction: City 3-1 Tottenham (AET)

April 20th- Tottenham (a) Premier League

The third meeting with Tottenham in eleven days should be the one for which City are the strongest favorites. Tottenham don’t have the strength in-depth to match City. who may be able to rotate the likes of Riyad Mahrez, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus into their lineup.

Prediction: City 3-1 Tottenham

April 24th- Manchester United (a) Premier League

As things stand, City must win this game. If the quadruple is still on, United know this is their chance to stop City toppling Fergie’s 1999 treble winning achievement. That treble of course was secured by new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s late goal in the Champions League Final. City has won the last two meetings at Old Trafford, but that was before Solskjaer returned to town. Solskjaer has shown an unexpected tactical acumen since taking charge and has lost just twice in the Premier League. United may sit deep and attack with pace on the counter, City will go on the attack with the first goal likely to prove crucial.

Prediction: United 1-1 City

April 28th- Burnley (a) Premier League

After Old Trafford comes the comparatively low-key trip to Turf Moor. Burnley felt aggrieved by David Silva’s controversial goal at the Etihad earlier this season, and Sean Dyche’s side have become tougher since the turn of the year. Realistically, this is the sort of away game you must win to become champions. Although it’s City’s eighth game in 25 days, they should have enough to win with a bit to spare.

Prediction: Burnley 1-4 City

April 30th- Potential Champions League Semifinal 

It is too early to say if City will play this fixture, although, they remain the favorites to do so. Juventus or Ajax await City or Spurs with the Italian champions led by former United favorite Ronaldo as the more likely opponent. This game could mark the climax of an incredible month for Manchester City.

Featured Image: Fox Sports Asia

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