Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he is concerned by Manchester City’s Christmas schedule.
The Chilean joined the Citizens this summer with the brief of winning the league and progressing in the Champions League.
City have made it to the last 16 of the Champions League and are still right in the thick of the race for the Premier League title this season.
However, the Citizens now face the busy festive period, which has really surprised the City boss.
City travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham this afternoon and will be looking to put pressure on the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool above them.
The City boss told Sky Sports: “It is very important, here in the Premier League, all these days like Boxing Day.
“But all the other countries stop and I think it is very important for the players to have a winter break because they play too much, too many games. We have to play the 26th and the 28th, less than 48 hours. It is incredible that the games are so near.
“I think that to play two games in less than 72 hours is not a good thing, the players are not recovered in less than 72 hours normally. Playing after 40 hours, I think, is a very bad thing. It is a lot of games and in this case we are not in the best situation.”
Despite City having a big, expensive squad, they have some injuries to big players. Argentinian duo Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta are currently out injured and will be missing for some of the festive period.
Aguero has been one of the outstanding players in the Premier League this season. The striker was one of the players looking like challenging for the Premier League’s golden boot. However, the injury may prove vital in the race, with Aguero’s main rival Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in red hot form in recent weeks.
Zabaleta may not have the same influence on City’s team, but the full-back has been one of City’s most consistent performers in recent seasons, both in defence and attack. His injury is more short-term than Aguero’s and City are hopeful that he will be back on Boxing Day.
I agree with Pellegrini that the Christmas schedule can be a gruelling one for Premier League clubs. However, it is now a tradition in English football that so many games are played over the festive period.
Having spent so much money in recent years Manchester City should have the squad to cope with the amount of games in such a short time. It sounds to me like Pellegrini is attempting to get his excuses in early, just in case his side struggle over the festive period.
His team does have those aforementioned injuries, but a club like City should have enough players to rotate effectively. It just seems strange a boss of such a big club fearing the Christmas period, but then again Pellegrini is probably not yet completely accustomed to life in England.
City will be expected to defeat Fulham later today, as the Citizens are big favourites at odds of 2/5 for a win at the Cottage, but the Boxing Day clash with title rivals Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium now looks like a massive clash. The Reds have put themselves in the race for the title with superb recent form and striker Luis Suarez particularly impressive.
That game could be a key one for the Citizens with very little in it at the top of the table. City’s home form this season has been impeccable and everybody connected with the club will be expecting a victory.
To achieve their objective they will have to keep Luis Suarez quiet and few teams have managed that in recent months. City will have to be better defensively than they have in recent games if they are to keep Liverpool out.
Manchester City are the favourites to win the Premier League title this season. The Christmas period could be vital in the race for the title. The Christmas schedule maybe concerning to the City boss, but most of the City players will be accustomed to the busy period.
Squad-wise Manchester City are arguably the strongest in the Premier League and they would be the team I would currently back to claim the title at the end of the season, busy Christmas period permitting of course.
Should City worry about their Christmas schedule?