Manchester City currently sit in 13th place in the Premier League table after two wins, two draws and one defeat from their opening five matches. Pep Guardiola has never been in a lower position at this stage of the season at any of his previous clubs.
On Saturday, City dropped yet more points after a 1-1 draw against West Ham at the London Stadium, having already drawn with Leeds and lost at home to Leicester this campaign.
“At this level, we’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot,” Guardiola said on Saturday. “We’ve had difficulties. We have to go game by game and see what happens.”
With eight points from five games, City are already five points behind joint league leaders Everton and Liverpool, with the latter looking to defend their Premier League title.
At no point in his four seasons at Barcelona, three at Bayern Munich and previous four at City has Guardiola been lower than fifth in a league table after the first five games of the season – let alone his current position of 13th.
Before this season, Guardiola’s previous worst start to a campaign was the 10 points he picked up from his first five games as Barcelona boss in 2008/09 and the first five games in the Premier League in 2019/20.
Never have his teams scored fewer goals (eight) and conceded as many goals (eight) as City this season.
Guardiola has pointed out that the packed schedule has had an adverse effect on the fitness levels of his City squad this season.
“We’ve had problems with lots of injuries and the lack of preparation and time to recover between matches,” Guardiola said.
“Gabriel Jesus got injured in the first game, [Kevin] De Bruyne has been out, [Sergio] Aguero spent four months out, [Ilkay] Gundogan recovered from coronavirus, which has happened to five players… We’ve had barely any time to rest.”
On top of those names the City boss mentioned, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake have all suffered injuries this season, while Aguero is now sidelined again.
In terms of performance, Guardiola’s team still dominate games – no one reaches their average possession of 63 percent in the Premier League this season – but five teams have scored more goals than them.