Under-pressure Guardiola Takes Search for First Win in Seven  Games to The Hawthorns


After a fantastic start in his Manchester City campaign-winning his first 10 matches in all competitions, things had taken a downturn for Pep Guardiola as he is yet to record a win in his last six games. On Wednesday, Guardiola’s men were ousted out of the EFL by bitter rivals-Manchester United, thereby putting a lot of pressure on the Spaniard as the Citizens visit The Hawthorns against West Brom today in a game City must come out with the three maximum points to retain their top spot on the Premier League log

Guardiola is mired in the worst run of his managerial career but is confident the Premier League leaders have the quality to bring an end to, and avoid a repeat of, their current six-game winless streak as Manchester City visit West Bromwich Albion today.

City started the season by winning their first 10 games in all competitions but the momentum has stalled in recent weeks and Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United marked their sixth straight game without a victory.

“We will improve. Sometimes it happens in football that the managers don’t win,” Guardiola told British media, adding that he had never been through such a run as a manager. It is the first time … and hopefully it does not happen again. But it is part of our profession; sometimes you win and sometimes lose. I have learned in all the 16 games. Every team has streaks of good results and bad results. The strange thing is after seven years as a manager, it happens now.”

City have seen their lead at the top of the Premier League evaporate and are ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool only on goal difference.

Few months after dueling for the Premier League title, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City have yet to rediscover last season’s killer consistency and both have a point to prove in today’s clash at White Hart Lane.

With Leicester flailing in mid table, having won three of their opening nine games, and Spurs having drawn their last two league encounters, both will crave a morale-boosting victory in north London.

For Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs, who sit fifth in the table but just one point off the summit, victory will refuel a title challenge that has stuttered with draws to West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth in their last two league matches. A defeat to Liverpool, albeit with a much-changed side, in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday, left them without a win since the start of the month when their title credentials looked rock solid after a 2-0 home victory over Manchester City.

For Claudio Ranieri’s champions, today’s encounter will give them an opportunity to win back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since April and fire up a title defence that has looked forlorn in the opening months of the season.

Heavy defeats to Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, added to a narrow opening-day loss to Hull City, have left them nine points off the pace and looking a shadow of the side that relentlessly pursued wins against the odds last season.

When the two sides last met in league at White Hart Lane in January, Leicester’s 1-0 victory, courtesy of Robert Huth’s late header, was seen as a sign that Ranieri’s side had the mettle and stomach for a title challenge.

Having lost all four of their away league games this season, another defeat would be taken as further proof of their demise since they lifted the trophy in May.

With only one point separating the top five teams, a number of sides will have their eye on climbing to the summit over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Sunderland host Arsenal in search of an unlikely first win of the season having made the worst start to a Premier League season by any team this century, losing seven of their first nine games.

And they haven’t beaten Arsenal in the league since November 2009 when Darren Bent scored the only goal of the game.

The Gunners are in scintillating form right now and will look to pile further misery on David Moyes and his struggling Sunderland team.

Arsene Wenger’s side are second in the league table, level on points with leaders Manchester City. Considering City’s form right now, a big win for the Londoners could well send them to the top of the table.

The away side will be delighted with the return of Ramsey and Coquelin. However, the absence of Cazorla and Xhaka could hurt them against a defensive team like Sunderland. Defensively, Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker‘s absence is also a blow. Danny Welbeck and Akpom are injured and will miss out as well.

On Sunday, Southampton host Chelsea in what is arguably the match of the weekend in the Premier League. The Saints are in very good form right now and will look to halt Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea side. The home team are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games and have defended exceptionally well in their last few matches.  Claude Puel‘s side are very well organised and will be hard to break down. They have done quite well at home as well and are undefeated in their last nine games.

Southampton held on to secure a 1-1 draw in their last outing against Manchester City and will be happy with a similar result against the Blues this weekend. They are unbeaten in three of their last four meetings against the London giants and will fancy their chances here.

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho shrugged off a mini-crisis with Wednesday’s victory and will now look to win his first league match in four and rebound from last weekend’s dismal 4-0 defeat at Chelsea when they host Burnley today.