Ruben Dias. Credit: Getty.
It was only the third time in the division’s history that the champions have begun the new term with a loss, following Leicester City in 2016 and Chelsea the following year.
It’s far from a shameful list to join for City, who were lacking several key first-team players, while many others still haven’t gained full match fitness.
However, both Leicester and Chelsea followed up their losses in previous years by taking points in their next games, meaning should Pep Guardiola’s men fall to defeat against Norwich City on Saturday, they’ll be the first defending champions to lose their opening two games.
In fact, prior to last week, City had won all of their last 10 opening Premier League matches, a joint-record in English top-flight football.
The last side to deny City a win on the first day of the season, ironically, were Tottenham, who held the Blues to a 0-0 draw in 2010/11.
City haven’t lost on the first weekend of a new campaign since 2008, when a seven-minute hat-trick from Gabriel Agbonlahor helped Aston Villa to a 4-2 victory. On that occasion, Mark Hughes’s side followed that up with a 3-0 win against West Ham United the following week.
Rather impressively, City have actually never been beaten in both of their first two matches of a Premier League season.
This is the Citizens’ 25th campaign in the division (after the league’s inauguration in 1992), meaning a defeat would mark their worst-ever start after two games.
Remarkably, City haven’t actually been on the losing side in both of their first league games since 1989, when they were beaten by Liverpool at Anfield before Southampton came away from Maine Road with all three points just four days later.
City fans will feel confident about that record remaining intact after this weekend’s results, given Norwich’s lacklustre opening against Liverpool and their stretched squad after a Covid-19 outbreak wreaked havoc on the Canaries’ pre-season preparations.