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‘That’s what we’re here for’ – Manchester City defender Rúben Dias reflects on upcoming December fixture congestion

‘That’s what we’re here for’ – Manchester City defender Rúben Dias reflects on upcoming December fixture congestion

English December looms for Dias and City

Manchester City youngster Rúben Dias claims both he and the club are prepared to tackle the difficult December schedule that so often can make or break a Premier League season.

‘That’s what we’re here for’ – Manchester City defender Rúben Dias reflects on upcoming December fixture congestion

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Ruben Dias of Manchester City celebrates with teammate John Stones after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on February 27, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matt McNulty/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

When speaking with Amazon Prime Video Sport, the 24-year-old Portuguese international showed no signs of concern as City are set to embark on an eight-match trek from now until the 29th of the moment where they will face the toughest period on any calendar in Europe’s domestic leagues;

“Yeah [we’re ready]. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the wins. We love that. That’s what we’re here for.”

The difficult run for the current holders features key clashes against Leicester City and a tricky Brentford as well as a Champions League date with Jesse Marsch’s RB Leipzig in Saxony. Despite Pep Guardiola’s men being guaranteed to top Group A, City could inflict potentially mortal wounds on the American manager if they were to beat the Bundesliga outfit at Red Bull Arena in conjunction with Belgian outfit Club Brugge picking up at least a point against Paris Saint-Germain, who is also guaranteed to compete in the knockout stage as locked-in runner up in the group.

City must also face Watford, Wolves, Leeds United, and Newcastle United during the congested end of the calendar year before they announce 2022 with a potentially tasty encounter with Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at the Emirates on New Year’s Day.

Guardiola’s troops outlast Steven Gerrard’s revitalized Aston Villa

Manchester City kicked off the December fixture list with a 2-1 away win against Aston Villa at Villa Park, putting an end to Steven Gerrard’s inspired start at his new employers after the Villains secured 6-points in the former Liverpool midfielder’s first two matches in charge.

First-half goals from the aforementioned Rúben Dias and a superb strike from key midfielder Bernardo Silva were enough to secure all three points for the current Premier League holders, but England international Ollie Watkins drew one back for the home side – his 2nd goal in three appearances under Gerrard – to make things interesting up until the final whistle.

The result saw City remain second and just one point behind table-topping Chelsea, who also netted an away win by the same scoreline when they overcame Watford at Vicarage Road. But Pep will continue to look over his shoulder as Liverpool ran out 4-1 winners in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, keeping pressure applied on the Etihad outfit as the three-horse race for top spot continues to grab headlines this season.

This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
6 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
7 Manchester United 21 5 35
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 0 29
10 Leicester City 19 -3 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 22 -11 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11

Premier League 21/22

Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6