Manchester City have started their 2011-12 season at a blistering speed as Premiership betting odds declared them favorites for the title, but any club fans that thought the Etihad Stadium outfit were simply going to whitewash every team that crossed their paths with ease may now be having a second thought. The 2-1 defeat to Napoli in Italy on Tuesday night will test Roberto Mancini’s men’s resolve, as three difficult opponents lay in wait over the next 11 days.
Liverpool v Man City
Mancini will urge his troops not to dwell on their Champions League defeat to his countrymen, and City must regroup ahead of what will be a tricky trip to Anfield. Liverpool will be full of confidence after their 2-1 win over Chelsea last weekend, and will look to take the game to the visitors.
Citizens have been ruthless this season domestically, and the travelling fans will hope to see a similar performance to the one that saw them annihilate rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. Mario Balotelli has recovered from illness and he is to be considered for a continuation of his place in the starting line-up; the Italy international has scored nine goals in his last ten games.
The visitors can expect a fiery atmosphere and a passionate performance from the Merseysiders, however if City can weather an early storm, they have every chance of getting three points; those interested in Premiership betting should know that Betfair give them odds of 2.64 to record a victory.
Arsenal v Man City
The Carling Cup will probably be an afterthought for City fans with important games in the Champions League and Premier League upcoming, but another cup success is only three victories away. City travel to the Emirates to take on a resurgent Arsenal on Tuesday night, less than 72 hours after facing Liverpool.
Both sides are likely to field weakened teams in this one, but a victory would be sure to keep the ball rolling, and keep the Manchester club in all competitions. The Gunners are in good form, but expect Arsene Wenger not to risk main man Robin van Persie in the cup tie.
Man City v Bayern Munich
Hurting after his side’s defeat in midweek, Roberto Mancini downplayed City’s chances of winning the Champions League after the defeat in San Paolo.
“We should be realistic. I do not think we have a team to win the Champions League this season.”
Mancini is quoted as saying in BBC Sport.
The Premier League team face an uphill battle to even get out of Group A, as a win against Bayern Munich is now a must, but may not even be enough to see the side reach the knockout rounds. Villarreal must overcome Napoli at El Madrigal for City to stand a chance, but Mancini will urge his side to focus on the Bundesliga giants rather than watch what is happening in Spain.
Jupp Heynckes’ side comprehensively beat City at the Allianz Arena back in September, and revenge will look to be exacted on Wednesday 7th December. If Mancini’s men can starve the likes of Mario Gomez and Franck Ribery possession there is no reason why the home side cannot win, but a better performance than that shown in Germany is needed.