Despite a poor run from November into December which left them well adrift of Arsenal and Liverpool, Manchester City are well and truly back in the title race. Let’s take a look at their latest title odds and how this season compares to their previous title comebacks and others.
Man City title odds: latest outright – 8/11
Following their recent wins over Everton and Sheffield United, bookmakers have shortened City’s title odds dramatically to 8/11, reanointing them as favourites.
City have had trouble defensively this season. The Citizens had conceded in eight consecutive matches before their 2-0 win over Sheffield United at the weekend. They are conceding 0.15 more goals per match this season relative to 2022/23.
Balance in midfield has been hard to come by too. Of City’s treble-winning trio, only the indefatigable Rodri has remained. Ilkay Gundogan has moved to Barcelona, and Kevin de Bruyne is yet to play a single minute of 2023/24. Guardiola does not seem to wholeheartedly trust his midfield deputies of Kalvin Phillips and Matheus Nunes, while most of Phil Foden’s minutes have still come from the wide areas.
Much is riding on Kevin de Bruyne’s return, though Julian Alvarez has deputised well in his absence, as City will look to go on one of their famous winning runs to move out of the sights of Liverpool and Arsenal.
City must also improve their big game record this season. Pep's side normally control games against rivals, but this season have lost to Arsenal and drawn to Chelsea away already, and have drawn at home to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Last season, they won all four.
Past Manchester City title comebacks:
2022/23 – On New Year’s Day 2023, City lagged seven points behind league leaders Arsenal, but eventually overhauled the Gunners to finish five points clear. As Arsenal struggled with injuries to key men William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu, City roared into top gear and won an astonishing twelve games in a row to seal their third league title in a row.
2018/19 – Manchester City were closer to third placed Tottenham Hotspur (then managed by Jose Mourinho) than first placed Liverpool on New Year’s Day 2019, and questions were being asked of Pep Guardiola after three losses in four games over the festive period. But once again, City rallied for an explosive second half of the season. They won all 14 of their final games of the league season and wrapped it all up away with a 4-1 win in Brighton, pipping a superb Liverpool side to the title by a single point.
The Premier League’s other greatest title comebacks:
Manchester United – 1995/96
In January 1996, Newcastle United looked to be on the cusp of a fairytale first top flight title win in nearly 70 years, as they surged an incredible 12 points ahead of champions Manchester United. Famously, Sir Alex Ferguson got under the skin of Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan by suggesting that opponents tried harder against Manchester United than Newcastle, who produced his famous “I would love it if we beat them” rant.
The mind-games master won out in the end, as the Red Devils beat the Magpies yet another Premier League title. Newcastle have not come anywhere near a league title since.
Arsenal – 1997/98
A few years later however, United would have the tables turned on them by a then-unknown Frenchman named Arsene Wenger. The Gunners were sixth at Christmas and even trailed United by 11 points with just nine games left to play, a near insurmountable number.
But when Arsenal did the impossible by travelling to Old Trafford and leaving with all three points, things inexorably swung the way of the Islington club. Arsenal ate up the ground on a spluttering United and Ferguson ended up with egg on his face after remarking “he's a novice and should keep his opinions to Japanese football”. Arsenal won the title by a single point.