Manchester City suffered a 2-1 defeat at midtable Crystal Palace on Monday night which could prove a defining moment in their season and this seasons Premier League title race.
The defeat could also prove a defining moment in the Manchester City career of Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini.
However, the experience former-Real Madrid boss has admitted that he is not worried about his position.
After the defeat at Selhurst Park, Pellegrini told Sky Sports: “I’m not concerned about my job. That is one thing I am never concerned with.
“I never have fear about it, I do my work, I’m very happy. The team maybe have a difficult season but never worry about me.
“We are not thinking about Chelsea, or about the title. We are just trying to win our games.”
Pellegrini may not be thinking of Chelsea or the title, but you can guarantee that the Citizens fans are concerned with their team’s current league position. City are currently fourth in the Premier League table and are nine points behind league leaders Chelsea, who also have a game in-hand.
It is now looking increasingly difficult for the reigning champions to retain their crown, as Arsenal and Manchester United leapfrogged the Citizens in the league table over the weekend.
City were level on points with Chelsea on 10th January, but since then have won just four games and lost seven. City’s form has been truly awful in the last few months. In that time the Citizens have also exited both the FA Cup and Champions League.
It now looks like that poor form will cost them the chance of retaining the Premier League title this season and the players only have themselves to blame.
It could be argued that Manchester City’s squad on paper is equally as good as Chelsea’s, but there seems to be something stopping the City players reaching their potential. Maybe it is a psychological issue that is plaguing the men from Manchester, because they do appear to have a quality squad.
City failed to defend the Premier League title in 2012/13 and they are repeating the trick this season. Maybe they just cannot handle the expectations laid at the door of champions.
Even star striker Sergio Aguero cannot seem to regain his top form. The Argentinian’s recent dip in form is worrying. The 26-year-old has now failed to score in six games and by his high standards that is a major goal draught.
It seems that even City’s world-class players are struggling to find any sort of form at the moment.
One issue that might currently be affecting the City team is that they have the highest average age of any Premier League team. The Citizens team badly needs refreshing. Players that were performing last season are not performing this season.
Some of the City signings of late have also not been good enough to challenge the top teams in the Premier League, never mind in the Champions League. The likes of Eliaquim Mangala and Jesus Navas would be very unlikely to get into any top team in Europe.
How can Manchester City expect to challenge for the big trophies if their players are not good enough.
It seems that this summer could see a major turnaround in players at the Etihad Stadium, because if the Citizens expect to challenge for big trophies, they need big players to do so.
Pellegrini may not be concerned about his job, but at this stage he should be. City were expected to fight for the Premier League title this season and it looks more likely they will be fighting for an automatic Champions League spot instead.
City travel the short distance to face city-rivals Manchester United on Sunday. As always the derby will be a massive game. The Red Devils could move four points clear of the Citizens with a victory at Old Trafford, which would put a dent in City’s hopes of even claiming a top-three finish.
United are very much in form, having won their last five Premier League games and pulled themselves back into the race for a potential second place finish. Sunday could be a crucial moment in Manuel Pellegrini’s City career.
The bookmakers clearly feel that City have blown their chance of winning the Premier League title, as they are now odds of 50/1 to retain their title and are in fact also behind Arsenal in the betting for the title.
Expectations have been raised at City in recent years. The City owners are attempting to build an empire at the Etihad Stadium and eventually win the Champions League.
However, despite winning the title last season I really would not be surprised to see Manuel Pellegrini be replaced in the City hot seat this summer, because simply finishing in the top four of the Premier League is no longer regarded as a success for the trophy-hungry City owners.
Should Manuel Pellegrini fear losing his job?