Manchester City has been in a recent dip of form, unlike anything Premier League fans have seen in Pep's tenure thus far.
Prior to the narrow victory against Luton Town, City had yet to win a Premier League game in over a month. They followed up that win with yet another draw, this time against Crystal Palace, and have since gone on their way to play in the Club World Cup.
Premier League leaders Arsenal sit 5 points ahead of City as this piece is written, which is less than Manchester City overcame last season to top Arsenal and win the Premier League title last May. Pep's boys went from being 8 points down in the title race to storming back and winning the whole thing. They've even come back from being down 10 points during the 18/19 season against Liverpool.
When asked about writing City off in the title race, Jurgen Klopp had this to say: It would be "the biggest joke in the history of football". He more than anyone should know the feeling of having to fight off these Manchester City teams to the bitter end, and falling short most years. This season, however, people seem to believe is different.
Arsenal seems to have found their missing piece in Declan Rice after he signed from West Ham in the summer, Liverpool has restructured their midfield and look a proper side once again, and City just look... off it. It's worth noting that Manchester City has been without star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne since the opening game against Burnley, but he looks to be nearing his long-awaited return and is aiming to be "the best in the world". De Bruyne's absence along with that of John Stones, a key piece in their title-winning system last season, has definitely played a part in the Manchester City we are seeing this season so far.
Not to mention that a trial date has been set for Manchester City to face their alleged 115 Premier League charges. The case will be heard by an independent commission, with significant punishments looming should the charges against Manchester City be proven to be true. Everton already had 10 points deducted for breaches in Premier League rules earlier this season, but rival fans may have to wait quite some time for a verdict to be found. Estimates put the wait to be until at least the summer of 2025 for a final ruling.
Their attack isn't the only thing suffering so far this season though, with their defense struggling significantly to keep clean sheets even after the purchase of Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig in Germany. He has mostly played as a LB and pushed players like Ake and Akanji aside in the process.
The concern is certainly there for all involved with Manchester City, but given they've been without Kevin De Bruyne for all but the first game of the season, and seen John Stones only play a handful of games while still only being 5 points behind in this title race, it does seem a bit premature and overexaggerated to say this City are already out of the title race.
Financial Fair Play breaches and a dip in form and suddenly everybody begins to panic. So quick are we to forget that Manchester City has been here before, both in facing charges for rule breaches, and having their backs against the wall in a title race. Everybody knows what this team is capable of doing, especially in the second half of any given season under Pep Guardiola. With key figures starting to reappear in the coming weeks for Manchester City, the second half of this Premier League season looks set to be an incredible watch!