Ban looms but silverware in sight:Manchester City aim to finish difficult season on a high note

Manchester City’s Premier League title defence has not gone to plan but they still have big targets to aim for. We look at the key talking points around Pep Guardiola’s side ahead of the restart…

After the long lay-off, these are busy times for Manchester City. Last week, they put forward their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against their two-year ban from European competition. This week, they resume their season with a Premier League clash at home to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal

A failure to overturn the ban could be costly for a club desperate to establish themselves on the Champions League stage – Kevin de Bruyne has already said it would leave him with a decision to make on his future – and it also heightens the importance of this season’s competition.

City hold a first-leg lead over last-16 opponents Real Madrid having beaten them 2-1 at the Bernabeu in February, but there is work to do to book their place in the quarter-finals and they cannot afford to lose focus as they chase their first taste of European success under Guardiola.

City must apply the same focus in the Premier League. A strong finish to the campaign will not be enough to overhaul Liverpool, who are 25 points clear and two wins away from clinching the title, but it could help Guardiola’s men generate the momentum they need in the cup competitions.null

As well as the Champions League, remember, City have the FA Cup to play for having beaten Sheffield Wednesday in the fifth round before the lockdown. This has been Liverpool’s season. But City have the Carabao Cup in the bag and two more trophies in their sights. They could yet finish it on an even higher note than their rivals