Can Pep Guardiola end Man City's winless run at West Brom?
With concerns over Vincent Kompany and Barcelona, City boss could do with a win on Saturday
Premier League leaders Manchester City will travel to West Brom tomorrow looking for their first win in more than a month.
Since beating Swansea on 24 September, Pep Guardiola's side have failed to win any of their past six games, drawing three and losing three. That represents the worst run of Guardiola's managerial career and City's worst set of results since 2008.
With Barcelona visiting the Etihad next week, Guardiola will be desperate for a long overdue victory at the Hawthorns on Saturday, which would also be likely to maintain their position as league leaders.
The Spanish coach has remained calm despite his team's poor run and has insisted it will make his side "stronger in the future". He has also vowed to stick to his principles and continue to play the passing football for which he is renowned.
"Behind Pep Guardiola's polite smile, there seems a growing irritation with being asked if he's prepared to change his style of play to get Manchester City winning again," says Guy Mowbray of the BBC. "Not a chance. There's a quest for a kind of footballing perfection at play here, and at times they've been close to it already this season."
The biggest question marks ahead of the trip concern defender Vincent Kompany. City's injury-prone skipper came off at half time against Man United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night prompting discussion of his future at City.
"Guardiola has stated publicly that, to form part of his longer-term plans, Kompany must get and stay fit, but the defender faces a separate challenge to prove he can adapt sufficiently to the Catalan's insistence on playing out from the back amid concerns about his qualities on the ball," says the Daily Telegraph.
However, Guardiola dismissed such talk on Friday and said that Kompany was capable of playing in his team. "We want to take care of all the players," he said. "We need to handle the situation until he can play 90 minutes."
Other City players struggling for fitness include Kevin De Bruyne, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta, while Sergio Aguero was left out of the games against Barcelona and Man United, prompting speculation that he had fallen out of favour.
Given City's recent travails, the game at West Brom is "massive", says Paul Merson of Sky Sports. But he thinks City will "squeak a result" before the visit of Barcelona. Mark Lawrenson of the BBC also believes City will prevail at the Hawthorns.