Club World Cup draw gives Man City an early Champions League priority – Simon Bajkowski

Of course they do because they want to win every match, but Pep Guardiola and his bosses want to break new ground by claiming trophies they have never won before. And there is nothing better than being named champions of the world, especially when the competitors are actually global rather than coming exclusively from the United States.

As winners of the Champions League, they will be strong favourites for the tournament given Europe is the standard everyone else aspires to. But there have been shocks before – United lost out to Mexican and Brazilian teams after they won the Treble – and there will be few favours from the Premier League; the two potential Club World Cup matches in Saudi Arabia will be played within ten days either side of Crystal Palace at home and Everton away.

As they had when they won the Treble last year, City will need a bit of luck and quite possibly a pressure release – a game where they can comfortably rest several stars. The most obvious one in the calendar is a visit to Belgrade on December 13.

City begin December by hosting Tottenham before heading to Aston Villa and Luton. Then comes their final Champions League group game against Red Star.

Even before taking the Club World Cup into account, it should be obvious that the Blues don&apost want to be heading to Belgrade needing any kind of result. It has the makings of a banana skin, with a hostile crowd that could make life difficult for Guardiola and his players.

Securing qualification for the knockout rounds early is important in that regard, and doing that would also open up the Club World Cup. If the manager is able to rest players for this game knowing it will not compromise their wider chances of success, he can afford to go full tilt at the Premier League and still arrive in Jeddah with plenty in the legs to attack the new competition.