Manchester City suffered a 4-2 defeat Southampton on Sunday in the Premier League, which may not have seemed significant yesterday,
However, it could do at the end of the campaign, as they in danger of missing out on the Champions League spots for next season.
Rested players for Wednesday
City boss Manuel Pellegrini decided to field a weakened team against the Saints, with the likes of Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero rested.
Those players are of course being rested for the Citizens Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
The Citizens head to Madrid still very much in the tie after the finish leg finished goalless, but Real’s dominant home record at the Bernabeu makes them major underdogs to get to the final.
Some would say then it was even more important that City’s most important players are fighting fit for the trip to the Spanish capital.
However, Southampton away was never going to be an easy game and although winning the Champions League gains a team entry into the competition next season, the Citizens will need a touch of luck to become champions of Europe.
In danger of missing out on Champions League
Manchester City are now in fourth position in the Premier League table and just four points above fifth-place Manchester United, who have a game in-hand on the Citizens. West Ham are just a point further behind United and also have a game in-hand on City.
The picture could have been so much worse for City if United would have won against champions elect Leicester on Sunday, as the race for the top four would then have been in the Red Devils hands, instead of City’s.
A top-four finish is still in the hands of the Citizens and it is theirs to throw away. However, the Citizens host top-four rivals Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium next weekend, which will not be an easy game considering that the Gunners will be keen to seal an automatic spot in the Champions League.
Pellegrini’s sides final league game is a trip to Swansea, who have very little to play for this season, but that did not show in the Swans 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
It seems that boss Manuel Pellegrini may have put all his eggs in a Champions League shaped basket and that may back-fire. City are not yet home and hosed in sealing their place in the Champions League for next season, which is crazy considering that Pellegrini’s side were one of the favourites for the title at the start of the campaign.
It is difficult to imagine new City boss Pep Guardiola, regarded as one of the best bosses in the world, managing in the Europa League next season. However, if City are not careful that could be a big possibility for the Citizens next season.
Still should seal a place in the Champions League
The distraction of the Champions League could be out of the City players’ minds after Wednesday night’s game, if the Citizens exit. Then they could concentrate on claiming an all-important top-finish.
Pellegrini’s side are still odds of 1/ 4 to seal a top-four place this season. The Citizens should still have enough left in the tank to complete the job.
In truth though, City fans will be disappointed by the Citizens form in the Premier League. It is easy to forget that the Citizens started the campaign in such dominant fashion. For the first ten games of the campaign it seemed that Pellegrini’s team would be the team to beat.
However, a lack of consistency coupled with brilliant campaigns for Leicester and Tottenham have seen City drop down to fourth in the Premier League table.
Their league form has been quite a contrast to their European this season and much will be expected of new boss Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium next season. The Spaniard’s arrival is likely to lift everybody at the club and they are unlikely to be in the same position next season, at least not in the Premier League anyway.
Will Manchester City finish in the top four this season?