English Premier League defending champions Manchester City seem to be a shadow of the team that they were last season.
They have struggled in the opening three months of the season, and after 12 matches, they find themselves fourth on the log, nine points behind last season's runners-up, Liverpool.
They were hammered 3-1 by the Reds in their last match, further denting their season following the slow start.
Unlike last season when they seemed impenetrable, City have dropped points this season in matches that seemed winnable, including a 2-0 home loss to Wolves.
They also lost 3-2 away to new Premier League boys Norwich, and have dropped points at home to Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-2 draw.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes City's title defense might be over, following their Anfield loss.
“First of all, to lose a big game, it is terrible and you can see the reactions from both managers [last night], how much pressure they are under and how much a game like that means,” he told BeIN Sports.
"Overall, nine points is too big a difference for Man City after 12 games,"
Pep Guardiola's men have a daunting run of fixtures after the international break. From Chelsea to Burnley, Manchester United Leicester and Arsenal.
Their next six matches will make or break their season.
Vs Chelsea - Home (Saturday 23 November 2019)
The defending champions will host Frank Lampard's high flying Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium next weekend in the first match after the international break.
Pep Guardiola wouldn't have loved to face Chelsea at such a time, coming on the back of the Reds 3-1 mauling. But again, Guardiola could send a statement with a win against one of the most in-form teams in the Premier League.
In the event Guardiola's side drops points against the Blues and Liverpool wins, the gap can go up to 12 points so early in the season, which can be insurmountable considering Liverpool's form.
Chelsea suffered one of the heaviest defeats last time they visited Etihad; a 6-0 loss, and will be keen to avoid such a scoreline.
Vs Newcastle - Away (Saturday 30 November 2019)
After the Chelsea date, City will travel to St. James Park the following weekend to take on the Magpies, who are on a mini-revival.
After a poor start, the Magpies have moved to 13th, having won their last two matches. They might not stop Manchester City, but will be a stern test for Pep Guardiola's side.
The Blues are expected to comfortably win this but will be wary of their hosts' threat, having lost 2-1 on the grounds last time they visited there.
Vs Burnley - Away (Tuesday 3 December 2019)
Burnley are 10th on the standings having seen their form dip in recent matches.
They have lost three of their last five matches, and might not prove a hard nut to crack for Pep Guardiola's side, who have won four of their last five matches with a 16-2 goal aggregate.
Vs Man United - Home (Saturday 7 December 2019)
The Manchester Derby. Ole Gunnar's men will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face the defending champions after their Turf Moor trip.
United were no match for City last season, losing 2-0 at home before a 3-1 annihilation at Etihad Stadium.
Ole Gunnar is under pressure as well to deliver but has managed to steady the ship in recent matches both at home and in Europe.
They will, however, need to be at their best against City and will need to borrow a leaf from April 2018 when they beat Guardiola's men 3-2 at home in the Premier League.
A win against United will not only give them the derby bragging rights but also send a message that they mean business in the defense of their title.
Vs Arsenal - Away (Sunday 15 December 2019)
Just like Ole Gunnar, Unai Emery is under pressure at the Emirates. Results have been hard to come by and their fans are calling for his ouster.
He will host City at home in another high-level clash. The growing rivalry between the two sides will be key in the match, and Arsenal will try to do what they haven't managed to do in the last nine matches; beat City.
Vs Leicester City - Home (Friday 27 December 2019)
Brendan Rodgers' men are the surprise package in the league. They continue moving from strength-to-strength, and if they can maintain that for the next five matches before they meet City, then they can be a tough nut to crack for Pep Guardiola's men.
The last time Leicester won at the Etihad was during their title-winning campaign when the then Foxes player Riyad Mahrez starred for Claudio Ranieri.
They, however, beat City 2-1 last season at the King Power Stadium, and this should be a good contest.
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