For obvious reasons, 2020 has been a tough year for most. For City fans, this has coincided with losing our grip on the Premier League trophy and struggling so far to claim it back. The good news is that we are only halfway through the season, so what are the odds, hopes, and desires for this city team in the second half of the season?
Started Out as Pre Season Favourites
Despite finishing 18 points adrift of Liverpool last season, Manchester City were still tipped by most to strike back in the 2020/21 season. Leading bookmakers all agreed that City were the favourites because of a storming finish to the previous campaign. They won 8 out of 10 of their final matches with 31 goals scored and just 4 conceded. This meant that at the start of the season, City were given odds of around 4:5 to claim back the title.
According to the bookmakers, understandably it is Liverpool who were predicted to be the biggest challengers. They priced them at 15:8 before a ball was kicked with the major premise being that winning two Premier League championships on the trot is something that only City has done in the last ten years.
How About Now?
Unfortunately for City fans, it goes to show that you cannot always rely on preseason odds as an accurate indicator of how a season will go. There is still a long way to go but as the halfway stage of the season approaches, Manchester City find themselves 8th in the league and 8 points behind league leaders Liverpool. They do have a match in hand that could bring that lead down to 5 points and put them 2nd or 3rd, however.
What has this done to Manchester City’s odds of winning the Premier League? To sum up, the odds for Liverpool and City have swapped places. According to OddManager, right now City are 9:4 and Liverpool are at 10:11.
What Needs to Change?
It is clear that Sergio Aguero has been a huge miss for City and his return could provide a major boost to the clubs title ambitions. Of course, he will be champing at the bit to claim the title in his last season for the club. He may not be able to compete for the golden boot but he just might be the difference as the club looks to close the gap on Liverpool. At the same time, Pep needs to be patient and not rush him back too quickly.
While his return will be a welcome boost, it is difficult to assume Aguero alone will be enough to challenge Liverpool. Several other key players need to increase their consistency and performance levels. A bit of luck and hopefully a few blips in form by Liverpool would help a lot too!
Keep the Faith and Don’t Stop Believing!
The good news is that Liverpool do not look anywhere near as dominant as last season. The gap has obviously closed, but it is vitally important that we do not let them increase the gap. If we can put a consistent run of wins together and be within touching distance when we play them in February, that match could prove to be a season defining moment.
Pep has plenty of work to do on the squad for next season but the focus right now has to be getting back to the top. He has been a fantastic servant for this club and although we could not attend matches recently and give him and the team some pitch side support, we can provide that support by keeping our faith in what he and the team are doing.