Manchester City Face Huge Premier League Test over Next Few Weeks

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIJanuary 15, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on January 1, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The 2012-13 English Premier League season still has plenty of weeks to go, but for defending champions Manchester City, their title aspirations could all come down to their performances and results in the next few weeks.

Having picked up a big, confidence-building victory at Arsenal on the weekend, City showed that they are still a championship threat this season. However, they must not yield any ground to United over the next few weeks or that threat could very quickly disappear once more.

Midfielder David Silva recently spoke of the pressure that the Citizens currently have on them to not drop off in the title race (Per BBC Sport):

If we lose [again], then suddenly the gap is 10 points and that is when it gets really difficult [to come back from].

All we can do, whatever the gap is, is keep going, every game, and put them under the pressure of knowing that if they lose a game or drop any points, we will get closer to them. That works the other way, of course, too, because if we lose we will get further away, but we cannot think about that.

We just have to continue as we are...

With 16 weeks remaining in the domestic competition, City find themselves just seven points behind Manchester United with a match against Sir Alex Ferguson's men still to come. Thus pulling off the comeback and winning back-to-back titles is not at all impossible—it just requires a disciplined and faultless run from the Citizens.

However, at the moment, that will be difficult to do.

The defending champions are still without key striker Sergio Aguero and don't have midfielder Jack Rodwell completely healthy either.

They also face tricky Premier League fixtures in the near future such as away at Queens Park Rangers and home to both Liverpool and Chelsea.

Yet their biggest challenge will be defensively, where a harsh red card on captain Vincent Kompany could well cost the Citizens their title hopes.

With Micah Richards still injured and Kolo Toure on international duty, City have just two central defensive options remaining in Joleon Lescott and Matija Nastasic—that is, assuming Kompany's three-game suspension is enforced.

Midfield maestro Yaya Toure is also unavailable for City—all of which together provides a mountain of problems for Roberto Mancini to deal with. And given the timing and fixtures that loom for the defending champions, this could very well be the moment in the season that decides the outcome of the 2012-13 English Premier League title.

Many Manchester United fans will say that their title chances went out the window last year the moment they lost captain Nemanja Vidic.

Could 2013 be the year that City say the same thing about their star defender?


Will the next six weeks decide the 2013 Premier League title race?

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