Man City "are vulnerable for a top four place": Kevin Kilbane

The former Irish international analyses Guardiola’s current predicament.

BY Sinéad Farrell 09:18 Sunday 19 March 2017, 9:18 19 Mar 2017

Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

With Man City out of the Champions League and seemingly out of the Premier League title race, Kevin Kilbane discusses how expectations at the Etihad have changed since the season began.

Speaking to Newstalk.com he said:

"I think they expected progression, I certainly think they expected to be making a better fist of the challenge for the Premier League."

"I think Guardiola himself would have expected that. I think once the season started and they won those first few games and had that hot streak, I think everybody expected them at that stage to go on and win the Premier League this season."

"Reality has struck now. I don’t think they can continue to play the way they are playing with the players that they've got. They need an overhaul. I think that's what we’ve seen all season essentially. Defensively, they need an overhaul."

"At goalkeeper, they need an overhaul and probably two or three positions further up the field. I think essentially you’re looking at six or seven signings – five from the starting eleven and probably seven into the squad."

Image: Kevin De Bruyne and Stoke's Jonathan Walters

"There's talk he's going to introduce some academy players given the money they’ve spent on the academy system they would be expecting one or two of those through now. I think essentially they expected to be making a better fist of the challenge for the Premier League and with Pep Guardiola in charge as well, probably a minimum a quarter-final in the Champions League."

"At the start of the season, they wouldn’t have settled for this [a top four finish and a FA Cup win]. Right now they would settle for this. If they win the FA Cup this season and finish in the top four – it's progression given what they did last season but part of me does feel that they’ve missed a trick this season with the players that they’ve got," he added.

Looking ahead to a difficult few weeks for the Manchester side, Kilbane said:

“You look at Liverpool's record against the top six and it's excellent. I don’t think they [City] are going to win this weekend and I think Liverpool will get something from it. Liverpool have a great chance this weekend because they know how to play against the better sides and if you look at how vulnerable City looked in the two Monaco games – if you've got pace you can hurt them.

“I can't see them beating Chelsea the way they are playing at the moment. Chelsea look so good - defensively very rigid and difficult to break down. I can see them beating Arsenal. Realistically if City can pick up points in all three of the games, it’s not a bad return. They are vulnerable for a top four place," he added.

Man City entertain Liverpool at the Etihad today.

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