Manchester City were the undisputed English champions last year—winning the Premier League for the first time in 44 years and toppling their fiercest rivals to do it.
We all vividly remember the scenes of jubilation that flowed out the Etihad Stadium last may when Sergio Aguero—sorry, Sergio AGUUEEERROOOOOOOOO!!!!!—netted that now infamous goal to give Roberto Mancini's side the league title over Manchester United.
A great day; a great year. A memorable year for Manchester City.
That was last year.
This is a new year with new problems and challenges and title contenders and very quickly, the success of last year gets overtaken by the matches to take place this year.
The victory celebrations from last May are replaced by the necessity to perform—week in and week out—across a myriad of competitions.
The tag of being named "champions" might remain, but being known as a champion team, well that's something that City will have to earn this year just like they earned it last year. It won't simply come as a result of last year's performances—every team, including Manchester City, have to earn the right to be labelled with the champions tag.
And so far this year, City have not lived up to the tag.
They have not lived up to the hype, the pressure and the expectation that comes with being the reigning champions of any league, and they have not shown themselves to be the champion team that they no doubt wish to be this season.
Roberto Manicin's men have already bombed out in the Capital One Cup—suffering a 4-2 defeat to lowly Aston Villa in the opening rounds of the competition.
They're bottom of their Champions League group and in serious danger of missing qualification for the knockout rounds because of it.
And whilst the Manchester club are the only team left undefeated in the Premier League, they're still only in third position behind Manchester United and Chelsea, and suffering the same problems away from home as they did last season.
Simply put, City are struggling to class themselves as champions in any of the three competitions they've entered this season—the results just aren't falling their way.
They are in grave danger of slipping out of the Champions League altogether, so November becomes the month where we will see just how champion-like Manchester City are this season.
Their Premier League rivals are gaining momentum, so November becomes the month when we will see just how champion-like Manchester City are this season.
Their squad and particularly their defensive unit is crippled by injuries, so November becomes the month where will see just how champion-like Manchester City truly are this season.
November is the month for Manchester City.
|3rd November||Away to West Ham||English Premier League|
|6th November||Home to Ajax||UEFA Champions League|
|11th November||Home to Tottenham Hotspur||English Premier League|
|17th November||Home to Aston Villa||English Premier League|
|21st November||Home to Real Madrid||UEFA Champions League|
|25th November||Away to Chelsea||English Premier League|
|28th November||Away to Wigan Athletic||English Premier League|
|1st December||Home to Everton||English Premier League|
|4th December||Away to Borussia Dortmund||UEFA Champions League|
|9th December||Home to Manchester United||English Premier League|
|15th December||Away to Newcastle United||English Premier League|
They might not shoot themselves to first in the English Premier League, and they most likely won't survive the group stages in the Champions League, but what they can do is step up and show that they are still one of the toughest teams in world football this year.
We know the Citizens have class and ooze talent right throughout their team; now they simply need to continue that onto the pitch—week in and week out.
The next six weeks don't provide many easy matches for the Citizens, which means we'll get the perfect opportunity to see just what they are made of, and whether or not they truly deserve to be called "champions" once again this season.
They have the goals and the have the skill on hand to win the Premier League once more and they have the belief to make a great fight out of their current position in the UEFA Champions League—now all they need to do is make it happen on the pitch.
November is the month for City to step up as champions.
Step up, or step down.
We'll soon know one way or the other.
Why will Manchester City step up in the next few weeks?
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