Since returning from from the FIFA Club World Cup Manchester City has won both their Premier League fixtures against Sheffield United and Everton. After getting through a tough November/December results-wise wise the treble winners are in a familiar position at the midway point of the season. But with the African Cup of Nations and Asian Cup looming they could ideally be placed to take advantage of their rivals losing key players to the tournaments.
Pep Guardiola’s squad is in a fortunate position where it will have no players called up for either tournament. It is the ideal scenario for the world champions. The only players who aren’t currently available are the injured trio of Erling Haaland, John Stones and Jeremy Doku. But the trio are all expected back during the next few weeks.
Compare that to their title rivals and the upcoming international tournaments may have a bearing on the title race. League leaders Liverpool will lose key pair Mo Salah and Wataru Endo. Given their importance to Jurgen Klopp’s side, it could be a key blow in this season’s title race.
Tottenham will be without Pape Sarr, Yves Bissouma and top scorer Son Hueng-Min. That will be a massive blow for Ange Postecoglu’s side as they look to keep pace with the top four. Arsenal and Aston Villa also aren’t immune from the African Cup of Nations and the Asian Cup. Arsenal will have Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu out for a spell of games. Unai Emery’s Aston Villa will lose Bertrand Traore to international duty.
While their rivals should have the squad depth to cover their stars, Liverpool especially will feel the loss of Salah and Endo. Manchester City are now well-placed to possibly take advantage of any slip-ups by their rivals should there be any.