Over the past two months, Manchester City have rejuvenated their 2020/21 domestic campaign. The Sky Blues, which previously sat in sixth place in mid-December 2020, are now in first place in the 2020/21 English Premier League, ten points clear at the top of the table.
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During this span, City have played 17 games in all competitions. Remarkably, the Sky Blues won all of these matches. These results saw them advance to the Carabao Cup’s Final, the FA Cup’s Quarter-finals, and they gained ground in the EPL. City only conceded six goals in 17 matches, and they kept 11 clean sheets in 17 of these games. This clean sheet tally included matches against Man United and Tottenham Hotspur. Meanwhile, City only gave up a goal against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Everton, games which the Sky Blues also won handily.
Now, a new challenge will enter the mix. This is none other than the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.
During the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League Group Stages, Manchester City were placed with Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille. The Sky Blues won five of these six matches, and drew the remaining match. They kept clean sheets in five of these six games, and only conceded one goal. Simply put, Manchester City cruised in the competition’s group stages.
Their next opponent will be more difficult. Manchester City will face Borussia Mönchengladbach in the competition’s Round of 16. City previously faced Gladbach on six occasions, where they won three, drew twice, and lost once. City most recently drew Gladbach in the Champions League Group Stages during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 competitions, where they won three of these four matches and drew the remaining game.
History favors Manchester City in this upcoming tie against Gladbach, and the Sky Blues have gone on a 17-game winning run. One might wonder, however, if match fatigue will creep into this squad. Unlike many of their EPL opponents, City have consistently played two matches a week, where they had nine matches in January 2021 and they will have eight games in February 2021. Time is surely bound to catch up with them.
Will Gladbach be the stumbling point in City’s remarkable season? Or will the Sky Blues cruise past yet another difficult opponent in what might be City’s best season under Pep Guardiola?