If Pep Guardiola might have chosen an ideal three fixtures to start the brand new Premier League season, he would not have picked Wolves, Leicester and Leeds.
Not solely did all impress within the opening weekend of the marketing campaign as Manchester Metropolis’s pre-season continues, however all three signify opponents which have triggered Guardiola and his aspect issues lately.
Beginning at Molineux, Metropolis face a aspect they’ve solely crushed as soon as in 90 minutes within the final 5 conferences – six should you embrace the 2019 pre-season Asia Cup defeat. Wolves did the double over Metropolis final season, and took a degree off the centurions the earlier season.
The likes of Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez know how one can get the higher of the Metropolis defence on the break, and Nuno Espirito Santo has recruited nicely this season. Metropolis must be at their greatest to get off to a superb begin.
If they do not, title rivals like Liverpool and Chelsea could possibly be six factors away from Metropolis simply ten days into the brand new season.
Then, after a Carabao Cup dwelling tie, Metropolis play their third recreation in seven days as they welcome Leicester to the Etihad.
Leicester appeared good on the opening day, and have comparable tempo and motion in assault as Wolves will provide. Final season, the Foxes took the lead on the Etihad by way of Jamie Vardy, earlier than Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus secured the comeback to win 3-1.
The scoreline does not mirror how troublesome the sport was, nonetheless, and followers will always remember how troublesome Leicester had been to interrupt down earlier than Vincent Kompany’s rocket in 2019.
Final season, Metropolis recovered from going behind in opposition to Brendan Rodgers’ aspect, however there have been loads of different events the place conceding first price essential factors. Simply have a look at Metropolis’s final outing in opposition to Lyon, the place a failure to take probabilities and scientific opposition turned a hard-fought, however simple, win into defeat.
Guardiola’s males cannot afford to make the identical mistake in opposition to a Leicester aspect who’ve the gamers to catch Metropolis on the counter. That is the type of recreation the place taking the lead – and holding it – can save pointless stress in direction of the tip of the 90 minutes.
After that – the journey to Elland Highway.
All of the pre-match build-up might be in regards to the Marcelo Bielsa-Pep Guardiola hyperlinks, and the Bielsa issue ought to function a reminder to the risk Leeds have.
At Liverpool of their first recreation, Leeds had been fearless, scientific and aggressive, regardless that they misplaced. They will not change for the go to of Metropolis, who suffered a shock defeat to an identical newly-promoted opponent early final season.
That 3-2 defeat to Norwich successfully handed Liverpool the respiratory house they wanted to embark on their unbelievable unbeaten run that gained them the title. You possibly can’t win the title within the first few video games, however 2019/20 was proof you possibly can lose it with a foul begin and the incorrect mentality.
This season, Metropolis might be searching for a greater set of outcomes to get the marketing campaign up and operating, even in opposition to three tough opponents. Mindset and the correct techniques might be key.
Constructive outcomes will not solely set the tempo for this season’s title problem – it should additionally present that Metropolis have realized from the errors that continued all through final time period.