Caption: Guardiola and his City side are in the box seat.
There have been some incredible title races in recent years, but this season’s – as we all hoped it would – is shaping into perhaps one of the very best. It is nailed on that whoever finishes second out of Liverpool and Man City will do so with a record points tally.
That is one record you do not want on your CV, but is an indication of just how good both teams are playing. In any other season, they would be more or less home and hosed by now, but it looks like it could very well go down to the last 90 minutes of football. So, who have they both got left to play, and how is it likely to pan out?
Aside from the EPL, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are of course aiming for an historic quadruple. Along with their rivals for the league title, most Champions League predictions have City out in front, with Liverpool only a little way behind.
Onto the league though, and from being all but written off after a dodgy run over the festive period, City are now in the box seat. Taking a look at their fixtures, there – on paper at least – appear to be some games where you would expect them to get the full 3 points. There are others that stick out and could very well be the ones that decide which part of the North West of England the trophy will spend its summer.
- Fulham away
- Cardiff home
- Crystal palace away
- Spurs home
- Manchester United away
- Burnley away
- Leicester home
- Brighton away
The first two games are ones where City should win comfortably and put more pressure on Klopp and his team. Palace away will not be easy, and a draw is definitely possible. The game at Selhurst Park could well turn out more difficult than the home game against a Spurs side whose league form has faltered over recent weeks. Then is the big one. The Manchester derby.
It is at Old Trafford, and the red half of Manchester are a different side than the one that lost 3-1 in November. However in another twist, in their role of kingmakers, the vast majority of United fans would much prefer Manchester City to take the title than their bitter rivals Liverpool.
Burnley away is another game which is far from a foregone conclusion. The Clarets’ home form is good, and they will still need the points to maintain there EPL status. Leicester at home should see all three points but Leicester are playing better under Brendan Rodgers, and Vardy is back at his best now he has been given the freedom to play. Finally Brighton. The Seagulls could very well need a win to avoid the drop. In that scenario anything could happen.
Caption: Klopp, hoping to bring the league title to Merseyside for the first time since 1990.
Liverpool’s long wait for a league trophy alternates from looking like it will finally be ended, to surely being extended for one more season, almost on a week by week basis. It looks like that could well continue right to the final week. Let’s have a look at who they have to face:
- Spurs home
- Southampton away
- Chelsea home
- Cardiff away
- Huddersfield home
- Newcastle away
- Wolves home
The first thing you notice when comparing the two sets of fixtures is that Liverpool’s trickiest games are up early in the sequence. Spurs are not the challenge they would have been a month or 6 weeks ago, but Southampton are now playing well, and scoring, as Spurs found to their cost. Chelsea will not be easy, but at home you would think Liverpool would have just too much. The other games – with one exception – look relatively straightforward. That exception is Newcastle away. Historically these games have been goal fests, and if they have dropped points and are chasing City at this point which in all likelihood they will be, this could be the game where they – fatally – slip up.
Whatever happens, we are in for a treat. When the fat lady has finally sung, fear not. Next season is looking like it could be even better. A rejuvenated Manchester United will strengthen, likewise Arsenal, who are on the rise and Spurs and Chelsea will also be looking to have a say in the title race. There are even the likes of Wolves and Watford who will be eyeing a possible top four place.