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Five potential title-deciding fixtures for champions Manchester City in 2022-23

:Headline: Five potential title-deciding fixtures for champions Manchester City in 2022-23:
Sports Mole takes a look at five potential title-deciding fixtures for reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the 2022-23 campaign.
Sports Mole

The Premier League have now revealed the fixture list for the 2022-23 campaign, and reigning champions Manchester City will begin away at West Ham United on August 7.

The Citizens secured back-to-back top-flight titles after claiming a dramatic final-day victory at home to Aston Villa last season to finish just one point clear of rivals Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola has since strengthened his squad with the additions of Erling Braut Haaland and Julian Alvarez, while more signings could be made this summer amid links with the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Marc Cucurella.

As impressive as City were last season, they dropped points in nine matches, drawing six times and losing three against Tottenham Hotspur (2) and Crystal Palace.

City will be keen to make a strong start to the new campaign, after suffering an opening-day defeat at Spurs last season, while there will be a number of other challenging fixtures against opponents who could have their say in this year's title battle.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at five fixtures which could potentially decide whether the current Premier League champions can retain their crown in 2022-23.

> Click here to see Manchester City's 2022-23 Premier League fixture list in full

Liverpool (A) – October 15

Man City have a relatively favourable start, on paper, to the new campaign, with Spurs and rivals Manchester United the only so-called top-six clubs that they will face in their first 10 fixtures.

However, their first showdown with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool will take place at Anfield in the middle of October, just three days before a midweek trip to Arsenal.

This fixture on Merseyside also took place in October last year and saw City peg the Reds back on two occasions to draw 2-2, with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne both on the scoresheet.

Regardless as to whether City make a strong start to the new campaign, the pressure will be on them to claim at least a point at Anfield. Suffering defeat against arguably their biggest title rivals – who went through the whole of last season unbeaten on home soil – could be crucial in their bid to retain the top-flight crown.

Man City's recent form at Anfield should give them some confidence heading into October's clash as they have picked up five points from their last four visits.

Manchester United (A) – January 14

As soon as the 2022 World Cup comes to a close, Man City will come up against Leeds United (A), Everton (H) and Chelsea (A). A domestic cup fixture is then set be pencilled into the schedule before Guardiola and co travel to Old Trafford to face rivals Man United.

With the majority of City's squad set to represent their national teams in Qatar, Guardiola will be praying that they return home unscathed, as he will want the strongest squad possible available to him heading into the second half of the campaign, which could see them still challenging in four different competitions.

Manchester derbies are always eagerly-anticipated contests at any stage of the season, and in recent years the Citizens have had plenty of success at Old Trafford, winning six and drawing two of their last 10 Premier League visits.

It remains to be seen how United will adapt to the new campaign under new boss Erik ten Hag, following a disappointing 2021-22 campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

Nevertheless, encounters for City against their bitter rivals always tend to spring a surprise, and while they may have breezed past the Red Devils in recent meetings, they will need to be on top of their game at a crucial period in the season.

Liverpool (H) – April 1

Following a two-week international break at the end of March, Man City begin the month of April by welcoming Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium.

At this stage of the season, the penultimate month with only 10 Premier League games remaining, both clubs will be aware of where they stand in the title race, and with 30 points still to play for, there is enough time for a number of twists and turns to occur at the summit.

Both Man City and Liverpool have put together impressive runs of form towards the end of the last few seasons and victory for either side here could potentially be the most important of all depending on how many points are separating them or another potential title rival.

The Citizens are unbeaten in their last six meetings against the Reds at the Etihad, although the points have been shared in their last two home encounters, including the enthralling 2-2 draw last season.

Chelsea (H) – May 20

Man City will face Leicester City, Arsenal and Leeds United at the Etihad before locking horns with potential title challengers Chelsea in their final home game of the season in May.

Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel will face off on the same day as Liverpool play host to Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa, while Man United make the trip to Bournemouth.

City may have already won their third successive title by the time they face Chelsea, or they could go on to beat the Blues and secure the top-flight crown in front of the Etihad faithful.

However, this could also be a clash which sees them slip up at a vital moment, either handing over the title or providing their rivals with a huge boost heading into the final game of the season.

City suffered defeat at home against Chelsea in May 2021, with Marcos Alonso scoring a 92nd-minute winner to seal all three points for the visitors. However, this result had no bearing on City's title success as they went on to win the league, finishing 12 points clear of their nearest challengers Man United.

Brentford (A) – May 28

If Man City are to secure the Premier League title on the final day of the season yet again, then they may need to come out on top against Brentford away from home on May 28.

The Citizens have won the title on the final day on more occasions than any other English top-flight club, doing so in four of their six triumphs.

Last season's success was decided in dramatic fashion on the final day, with Guardiola's side coming from two goals down against Aston Villa to win 3-2 at the Etihad, with substitute Ilkay Gundogan netting a famous brace in the final 15 minutes.

City won both encounters against Brentford last season, but they were made to work for the three points on both occasions by Thomas Frank's resilient side, claiming a slender 1-0 away victory in December before winning 2-0 at home in February.

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