Manchester City’s schedule got a little more interesting after their game on Sunday was postponed. The game against West Ham United, which was postponed by Storm Ciara, has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, February 19th. However, it’s the games it comes before that make this a valuable rescheduling.
Manchester City have been given a gift. By moving the game against West Ham to midweek, Pep Guardiola has the chance to develop the rhythm he wants, because he knows Manchester City will need a better rhythm if they are going to beat Real Madrid in their Champions League fixture.
Manchester City’s Schedule Has Done Them a Favor
More Time to Prepare
In a recent press conference, Pep Guardiola was upset that the Premier League winter break meant his team would have only one game before their trip to Madrid. That one game, an away trip to Leicester City, is hardly a simple one.
Storm Ciara’s postponing of the West Ham game means City will have two games in a week to prepare for Madrid, and while some might beg to differ, that extra game will be vital for Manchester City’s preparation.
The team really needs some work if they are going to have any shot in the Champions League. City haven’t been up to the lofty standards they set for themselves last season, and Real Madrid, despite all the noise, are unbeaten in 15 of their last 16 games. More surprisingly, they’re doing it with the defence.
Zinedine Zidane has once again gotten the Spanish giants purring. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, and Dani Carvajal are all back to playing the type of quality football we expect, Ferland Mendy has really taken over the left-back position to huge success and Thibaut Courtois has been good enough in goal to be the La Liga player of the month in January.
Zidane has implemented the perfect balance into this squad. By adding Mendy and Federico Valverde into the starting 11, he has given Madrid the necessary athleticism to defend and counter.
If there is one type of team that City struggle against, it’s ones that defend and counter. Madrid are doing that with some of the best precision in the world right now and Guardiola’s side are going to have their work cut out for them.
Manchester City’s Prep
Manchester City are going to have to get some real work done to break them down, which is why this rescheduling is so important. Guardiola and the team will spend this week implementing whatever strategy they want to use against Madrid, and next will provide the perfect litmus test for whether the players are ready or not.
With Manchester City’s schedule only getting denser in the coming weeks, this last break is crucial. They have two weeks to prepare for the defining stretch of their season. Let’s see what they come up with.