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Can Manchester City’s Dynasty be Toppled?


Can Manchester City’s Dynasty be Toppled?

In Istanbul, Manchester City finally got their hands on the coveted Champions League and completed the treble, their trophy haul also including the FA Cup and the Premier League title. This moment cemented this side, under the management of Pep Guardiola, as a footballing dynasty. But how can a dynasty be toppled?

What defines a footballing dynasty? Dynasties in sport are defined as a team (or individual) that dominates their sport or league for an extended period. Since their first Premier League title on the final day of season in the 2011/12 season, Man City have won seven of the 12 following Premier League titles. Even in the seasons where they failed to finish top of the table, City were still close contenders for the title.

But with this total domination of the Premier League, the supposed toughest league in football, how can Man City’s dynasty be toppled?

The Rest of the Field

The rest of the field, the 19 other teams in the Premier League, have the biggest role in breaking Man City’s dominance. In the 2022/23 season, for example, Arsenal were Man City’s biggest threat, spending most of the season top of the table until being caught and finishing five points adrift.

However, one of the most notable aspects of City’s win this season was the lack of substantial competition. Three of the fabled “Big Six” in the Premier League had campaigns to forget. Liverpool finished outside of the Champions League places for the first time since the 2015/16 season, 23 points back from City. Tottenham finished outside of the European places completely in eighth and 29 points away from City. But worst of all, Chelsea finished in the bottom half of the table in 12th, their worst finish in the Premier League since 1994.

This lack of competition from the rest of the “Big Six” meant that the already stacked City roster had less obstacles in their pursuit of the “three-peat”. But, history would corroborate that these teams aren’t usually down for long, with all three, including Manchester United and Arsenal all strengthening their squad, there should be a more commanding and successful bid to challenge for the title.

Something new the season, however, was the improvements in clubs who had, before this season been considered mid-table clubs. Newcastle, under new ownership and new management, wrangled their way into the Champions League spots for the first time since 2002. Similarly, Brighton will be playing European football for the first time in their history after a sixth-place finish and Aston Villa will debut in the Europa Conference League Qualifiers after their seventh-place finish.

Though these now-stacked fixture lists may have a detriment on these clubs’ 2023/24 seasons, the fact that more than just the “Big Six” are competing for European football suggests that the rest of the field is strengthening and could begin to topple the Manchester City dynasty.


Injuries are one of the only things you can’t accurately plan for in football. Clubs can plan for squad depth, securing multiple players in every position, but the severity and quantity of injuries can never be planned for.

One of the ways that City’s dominance could come to an end could be via injuries. Though unfair, many teams have seen their promising seasons go to waste after one or more key players fall to injury.

For example, though Chelsea were unlikely to challenge properly for the title that season, The Blues’ 2021/22 season was marred by the simultaneous injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James. The full-backs were a key part of Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel’s preferred system and without them Chelsea lost both defensive stability and attacking prowess.

Any long-term injury to a key player in Guardiola’s system could affect their team dynamic despite the impressive squad depth and with the rising competitiveness in the league, any falter could be catastrophic.


Though the most unlikely of the options for the end of Man City’s dominance, Pep Guardiola and his side have been known to somewhat self-destruct in some situations. The most prevalent example of this is their track record in Europe before their triumph this season.

Man City reached the 2020/21 Champions League Final in Porto with an impressive campaign, seeing off the likes of Borussia Dortmund and PSG throughout the Knock-out stages. However, Guardiola and his side were accused of over-thinking and self-destructing in the Final against Chelsea when Ilkay Gundogan, City’s top scorer that season, was placed in a holding role instead of his usual attacking role with no Rodri or Fernandinho in the starting XI.

With everything finally conquered for City, will this kind of overthinking begin to find its way into their Premier League season or in a similar issue, will a team who have achieved nearly everything in football continue to be adequately motivated to continue their dominance?