This season is really getting going now, and December and January could prove to be defining months in terms of City’s Premier League title chances. Between now and the end of January, we play seven league games, a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final tie (the draw for which takes place this evening) and an FA Cup third round match away at Blackburn.
It’s a packed schedule, starting at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon, and with City suffering a number of injuries to key players, it looks set to be a difficult period. Micah Richards is out for a month, and fellow right-back Pablo Zabaleta followed him on to the treatment table after pulling up with a hamstring injury after 12 minutes of last night’s game at Leicester. How long Zaba will be out for is so far unknown, but he will certainly miss the match with Fulham, meaning James Milner, City’s 12th man, may be asked to play there.
Pablo has a problem with his hamstring, we’ll see tomorrow how serious it is. That was the only bad thing of this game. Of course [it is a concern given Micah is out for month]. We don’t have a full-back. We will see what happened with Pablo but we will see what we have to do in that position. For sure for Saturday [against Fulham] he will not be fit.
The news surrounding Sergio Aguero appears even worse. He left the field early on Saturday during the win over Arsenal with a calf injury, and Pellegrini has said he will be out for between 4-8 weeks. Aguero has 19 goals in 20 games, and City will undoubtedly miss his pace and goals.
I am not a doctor so it’s very difficult. The doctor has said that he has at least one month or eight weeks [out]. We’ll see. I don’t know how many weeks but it will be at least one month.
City will look to either play Edin Dzeko alongside Alvaro Negredo and keep the two up top approach that has brought so many goals, or play David Silva just off the Spaniard, with Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri on the wings.
After Fulham, City take on Liverpool at home on Boxing Day, a side who are making a decent fist of a title challenge so far this season. The old disjointed Liverpool are gone, and a new, easy-on-the-eye side have arrived. In Luis Suarez they have the league’s top scorer, and they will pose a real threat to City, particularly with City’s injuries.
A home match with Crystal Palace ends 2013, before away trips to Swansea, Blackburn (FA Cup) and Newcastle, with the League Cup semi-final first leg scheduled for between the trip to Ewood and the game at St James’.
Then comes Cardiff at home (revenge time), the second leg of the League Cup semi and then Spurs away. With City playing the best brand of football I’ve seen in time as a supporter (75 goals already this season), tickets are likely to be at a premium.
It’s a breathless run of fixtures and City must be at their best if they are to come out the other end still in contention for the title. You can get you Manchester City tickets here.
Written by Rob Pollard