John Stones said on Tuesday that Manchester City should expect to win the Quadruple – well, over the next seven days, we should get a lot closer to knowing.
City play three games over the next week. It all starts on Wednesday night as they host Tottenham in the Champions League before playing them again at the weekend in the league ahead of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford next week.
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at each of the fixtures and assesses what could happen.
Pep Guardiola is entering a week of fixtures which Manchester City can’t afford to lose
Tottenham – Champions League quarter-final second leg, Etihad Stadium, Wednesday April 17 (8pm)
In previewing this game, City defender John Stones spoke up his side’s chances of winning the Quadruple. To get close to doing that, City need a result at the Etihad.
They are 1-0 down after the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. Pep Guardiola is expected to start Kevin De Bruyne, who didn’t start in London last week.
That could make a huge difference to City’s chances of progressing to the last four of Europe’s premier competition for the first time since 2016.
City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is expected to start against Tottenham on Wednesday night
England defender John Stones is remaining confident that City can win the Quadruple
‘We’re still on for the Quadruple and that’s the dream we want to achieve,’ Stones said. ‘We’re fighting for it every day. We’ve got to trust it brings the best out of us.
‘We’ve got to enjoy the pressure of fighting for the titles and these big games. You get the best out of yourselves when you are under that scrutiny and you find who you are as a player and the players around you. It is a privileged position to be in and we have got to take every opportunity.’
There can be no more gambles from Pep. He knows he must pick his best team but he doesn’t believe it is all down to his him and his players.
In a rather telling pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Guardiola challenged the supporters at the Etihad to recreate the atmosphere he said helped City beat Liverpool 2-1 in January.
Guardiola knows he must get his squad selection right when they take on Tottenham
Tottenham – Premier League, Etihad Stadium, Saturday April 20 (12.30 KO)
No matter what happens in the Champions League on Wednesday night, all will need to be forgotten when the two teams meet again in the Premier League on Saturday.
Liverpool and City have faced many different obstacles throughout the season as they have competed for the league title.
Last weekend it was Liverpool, who had to stave off the test of Chelsea. And this weekend it’s up to City to do the same.
Expect there to be changes for both sides although City – despite having the best squad depths perhaps in Europe – also need to keep an eye on the Manchester derby that follows the home game against Tottenham.
Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham team won’t make the next two games easy for City
A win would move City back into first place on 86 points from 34 games. They would be a point ahead of Liverpool and with the same number of games played.
They will go a game behind again, however, when Liverpool travel to 18th-placed Cardiff.
A draw for City against Tottenham would be catastrophic at this stage given Liverpool are heavy favourites to beat Neil Warnock’s side.
A draw for City and a win for Liverpool would leave Jurgen Klopp’s side four points ahead – enough to cover the one game in hand City will have.
Manchester United – Premier League, Old Trafford, Wednesday April 24 (8pm)
City could go into this game after two fantastic results that have them both in the last four of the Champions League and still in position in the race for the Premier League title.
This would also effectively be City’s game in hand. Should both Liverpool and City have won at the weekend, they will be on 88 and 86 points respectively.
A win against United at Old Trafford would not only spell out yet again just how far City are ahead of their local rivals, but it would also lift them into first place and a point above Liverpool with three games to play.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Paul Pogba will be out to cause City problems at Old Trafford
That is assuming all goes perfectly to plan. The reality could be much different with United themselves in a scrap to finish in the top four.
Again, defeat for City would be terrible. It would be even more unthinkable if City do lose against Tottenham. Back-to-back defeats and win for Liverpool against Cardiff would leave Guardiola’s champions five points behind and with three games to play.
Three wins out of three, however, and we’ll no doubt be talking about a City side that are on the verge of winning an historic Quadruple.
TITLE RACE PERMUTATIONS
What the Premier League top two could look like next Thursday morning…
City beat Tottenham, Liverpool beat Cardiff, City beat United
1st: Manchester City (89 points, 35 games), 2nd: Liverpool (88 points, 35 games)
City beat Tottenham, Liverpool draw to Cardiff, City beat United
1st: Manchester City (89 points, 35 games), 2nd: Liverpool (86 points, 35 games)
City draw against Tottenham, Liverpool beat Cardiff, City beat United
1st: Liverpool (88 points, 35 games), 2nd: Manchester City (87 points, 35 games)
City draw against Tottenham, Liverpool beat Cardiff, City lose to United
1st: Liverpool (88 points, 35 games), 2nd: Manchester City 84 points, 35 games)