Manchester City fans may have accepted that the Premier League title is gone, but Pep Guardiola won’t allow his superstars to switch off going into the final nine games of the season.
They sit 22 points behind rampant Liverpool with just 27 points left to play for. A miracle to end all miracles is required if we’re to see anything other than red ribbons draped on the trophy by the end of July.
But so long as there are football matches to be played, Guardiola will pursue excellence, he will not allow his squad to down tools and continue their break from football. He will expect and demand brilliance.
On a sentimental note, David Silva will receive a well-earned farewell tour in their remaining Premier League fixtures, albeit without any fans there to appreciate his final games as a City player in person.
Sergio Agüero and Kevin De Bruyne are in the running for Golden Boot and Playmaker of the Season respectively, with Agüero close to breaking a few all-time scoring records also.
Check out your complete guide to Man City’s 2019/20 season ahead of the Premier League restart.
Man City in 2019/20
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Top scorer: Sergio Agüero (23 goals)
Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne (18 assists)
Check out our full list of Man City fixtures 2019/20.
It’s over. Whatever happens in the opening couple of games, if City come out and hit their opponents for 10 and Liverpool fall to Everton, it won’t change a thing. Liverpool are Usain Bolt 9.57 seconds into his 9.58 world record 100m sprint and there is no stopping them.
But that doesn’t mean the return is a waste of time for City, absolutely not. In fact, this could be an unbelievable opportunity for Guardiola to experiment and toy with his squad.
The imminent departure of Silva will leave a hole that few can fill, but young prodigy Phil Foden has the potential to soften the blow. The English youngster has been tipped for the top on countless occasions, but Premier League neutrals have rarely seen him in the top flight.
A new-look City could emerge from the lockdown, a tantalising glimpse of the future. Without trying to reduce the Premier League to a glorified pre-season, that’s actually what City may be able to treat this period as.
If Foden is warmed up and plugged in ahead of 2020/21, City could return with vengeance in the blood and tools to enact it.
Looking for all the remaining Premier League matches and how to watch them? Check out our Premier League fixtures guide.