MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 20:  Joe Hart of Manchester City is injured as he speaks to Gael Clichy of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on March 20, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Manchester City has no momentum to hold off West Ham and Manchester United for top four

Even though they advanced to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, Manchester City has had a rough month. Since their 3-1 loss to Leicester City, Manchester City is 1-1-4 in the English Premier League after starting with three losses in a row to top half table rivals Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool.

After their only win against Aston Villa in this time, their EPL title hopes have not only slipped away but now they are in real danger of losing a top four spot and face the realistic possibility of Pep Guardiola taking over a team who is only going to the Europa League next season.

This was all too apparent when Manchester City lost to their bitter rival Manchester United in the Manchester Derby on Sunday. Not only did they lose 1-0 at home, Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart were both off injured with Hart taken out on a stretcher. This all in addition to Vincent Kompany being out for another month with his calf injury.

Despite spending lots of money, Manchester City has lost any and all momentum to remain in the top four. Even though they are one point ahead of West Ham and Manchester United, both are in way better form than the boys in blue. West Ham hasn’t lost a league game since the start of February (even beating Tottenham) while Man United has been somewhat inconsistent but still capable of producing better results than Man City.

This international break is crucial for Manchester City to stop the bleeding and salvage a 4th place finish. With eight games left against Bournemouth, West Brom, Chelsea, Newcastle, Stoke, Southampton, Arsenal and Swansea, Manchester City has a schedule easy enough to keep their top four spot. The problem is that in their current form, still will not be able to effectively compete to keep their top four place.

And if Manchester City falls out of 4th and into 5th, they will start their season in the Europa League for the first time since 2010. A 5th place finish puts them in the group stage and while that is a setback, wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The group stage starts in September, it won’t disrupt their season. Fall out of 5th and into 6th or heaven forbid lower and they rely on their Capital One Cup win, Manchester City will enter in the third qualifying round and will start their season July 28. In a busy summer filled with worldwide continental tournaments, this would be the worst case scenario for a team who is desperate for an offseason.

So Manchester City is sputtering at the absolute worst time and have two teams on them for that final Champions League spot. They have two weeks to turn this around or else this will get worse before it gets better.

Phillip Bupp

About Phillip Bupp

Managing editor for 32 Flags, news editor for The Comeback and staff writer for Awful Announcing. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me @phillipbupp, @32flags as well as @MLSTitleBelt, a project where the title holder must defend the title in every MLS game.