Bad week for City?

Losing three times in a row and out of the Champions League? It's not great

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One bad week won't overshadow Prem dominance

Watching the Manchester United players celebrate in front of the away end after their 3-2 victory over rivals Manchester City on Saturday left a sour taste in the mouth for the home supporters. They'd spent all day gearing up for what they hoped would be the icing on the cake for the season -- winning the title against their local rivals - and, 2-0 up, it looked a dead cert by half-time.

Somehow, from a position of being two goals to the good and having stunned United into submission, City forgot to play the second period and wound up losing a game they should have won.

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Has Pep Guardiola just had his worst week at Manchester City?

By Joe Harker

A week is a long time in football, as the fortunes of a team can change in a very short space of time.

On April 4, Manchester City were preparing for their Champions League tie against Liverpool and looking forward to the prospect of winning the Premier League title in a game against rivals Manchester United.

One week later and City had been defeated three times in a row, being knocked out of the Champions League and missing the "once in a generation" chance to win the title in front of their rivals. Pep Guardiola even got sent to the stands to compound the misery.

Three defeats in a row for a team breaking all the records this season is puzzling to some, leaving them wondering just how things could have gone so badly wrong. The Daily Mail suggests a combination of exhaustion, poor defence and pressure made for a perfect cocktail of calamity. The first reason is perhaps the most crucial. If City really are exhausted then the brilliant and intense football they played to get to this point in the season is perhaps too much. City have wowed fans with their quality, but if their playing style leaves them running on empty before the end of the season it may suggest a change is needed, particularly if City want to win the Champions League.

Guardiola is no stranger to falling short in the Champions League. While he won it twice with Barcelona he was criticised for never getting Bayern Munich to the final during his time there, though they had made it in three of the four seasons before his arrival.

His teams may have a bad habit of being "blown away in sudden bursts" where they concede several goals in a short amount of time. In each of his three seasons with Bayern he made it to the semi finals, but was knocked out each time.

Writing for ESPN, Simon Curtis suggests that being clearly ahead in the Premier League could have allowed complacency to creep in with the players and lead to this bad week. They know they have the title in the bag, making it harder to be completely focused. Combine this with tiredness and you may get a squad that comes out of a week of hugely important fixtures with three defeats.

However, it is not the end for City. They are almost certainly still going to win the Premier League and complete a domestic double, having picked up the League Cup earlier in the season. This bad week may have soured those impressive achievements, but it cannot eliminate them. City are in such a good position that even a really bad week can't derail them, but they could do with looking at why they lost three in a row.

And, no, pretending your opponents rely on long balls doesn't count.

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The Times

Manchester City's aura stripped away after two hits in a week

Manchester City have looked untouchable for much of this season. It is when opponents have dared to lay a glove on them that frailties have been exposed. Twice in the space of four days, their aura of invincibility has been stripped away - like a boxing champion floored by an unexpected flurry of jabs. As the great Joe Louis famously observed: "Everyone has a plan until they get hit. "

That is a little unfair where City are concerned. More than any other coach in world football, Pep Guardiola is a man with a plan - and a brilliant plan it has been shown to be at City, as previously at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

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