Pep Guardiola is not concerned about the prospect of a fixture pileup later in the season. Manchester City’s game against Tottenham last weekend was postponed after the death of the Queen and their trip to Arsenal on 19 October may be moved.
That is because Arsenal could reschedule their postponed Europa League tie against PSV Eindhoven for that midweek. With the World Cup due to interrupt the season for six weeks from mid-November, it seems unlikely these City games could be played before the new year. That could create a backlog in the second half of the campaign but Guardiola is not worrying about it now.
“The Premier League has the ability to find [room for] the fixtures,” City’s manager said before Wednesday’s Champions League match at home to Borussia Dortmund. “Maybe the Tottenham game will be in February or March because now I think it is not possible. We will find a way.
“There’s the Carabao Cup, FA Cup at that moment but we will find a way. We are going to play this postponed game, it’s not a problem. Always the fixtures were so tight every season.”
The visit of Dortmund features Erling Haaland facing a quick reunion with the club he left in the summer. The striker has made a stunning impact at City, scoring 12 goals in eight appearances since his £51m move. Manuel Akanji was also signed from Dortmund this summer and Sergio Gómez was there from 2018-21, although he spent much of that on loan.
“They know these players better than I know Dortmund players, that’s for sure,” said Guardiola, whose side beat Sevilla 4-0 in their opening Group G game last week with two goals from Haaland. “They can get that benefit but we’ll see [on Wednesday] if it’s an advantage or disadvantage.”
The City midfielder Ilkay Gündogan, another former Dortmund player, has been impressed by Haaland since his arrival. “The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “He’s doing great on the pitch but his character, attitude and determination off the pitch is something incredible.”