How good is Premier league football? After 8 months and 28 rounds of edge-of-your-seat action, the title race is still completely in the balance!
The two standout teams of this season’s Premier League, Liverpool and Manchester City have been going blow for blow week in, week out in a bid at tasting Premier League glory.
Following this morning’s wild action to conclude round 28, a mere 1 point separates the two sides. Liverpool sit atop on 69 points while City are breathing down their neck on 68.
Pep Guardiola’s side are gunning for their 4th title and are chasing back-to-back success after last season’s triumph. While the red men from Merseyside are in the hunt for that elusive Premier League title- their first in 29 years.
With only 10 rounds to go, now seems as good a time as ever to take a look at how both teams chances are looking with crucial upcoming fixtures and breaking down what can make or break either team’s hope of taking out the title.
I’m sure I speak for every Liverpool supporter when I say that it is crucial this team take it one match at a time and not look ahead to what could be. Luckily, that’s exactly what I’m here to do!
As we all know, that infamous day in 2014 at Palace will still be haunting many supporters. A day where victory would have had them tied with City going into the last day of the season. Leading 3-0, the reds switched off and before they knew it Palace were back on terms by full time. It was not be with players and fans alike left reeling and their title hopes quite literally slipped away.
Since then however, Jurgen Klopp has taken over and has elevated his side to genuine contenders. They have been outstanding this season only losing one game along the way. Will this year be the year?
Everton (A) Burnley (H) Fulham (A) Tottenham (H) Southampton (A) Chelsea (H) Cardiff (A) Huddersfield (H) Newcastle (A) Wolves (H)
Their final 10 fixtures are headlined by a Merseyside Derby this weekend and matches against big guns Spurs and Chelsea.
Apart from this, their run home looks relatively straight forward. With the form they have shown all year, most pundits would expect the Reds at the very least to take 20 points from these last 10 games. We know all too well though, pressure does interesting things to players and you can never be too certain in the Premier League.
Will the reds be jumping for joy in a couple months time?
What They Must Do
Apart from the obvious of keep winning, Liverpool must forget all distractions. Forget the talk about the title drought and get on with playing football week by week.
Don’t shy away from what has worked for them this year and previous years. That is, their attacking and fast-paced style of play. With arguably the best front three in the league they must continue to be free running and cannot go into their shell.
The Reds must make the most of their easy run home against bottom-half sides. Any sort of major slip-ups can be disastrous so a foot on the throat mentality is what they will need against the cellar dwellers.
Prediction: 92 points – 2nd.
Sorry Liverpool fans but I’m predicting a couple of hiccups along the way in classic Liverpool fashion. 92 points would usually win you the title every season but City are just otherworldly this year.
What more is there to say about City? A few weeks ago they were 6 points back and were reeling with a few tough losses. As always, Pep and his men have rallied back to within 1 and have been applying pressure all year on the Reds.
City have had their fair share of injuries this season but have continued to scrape some tough wins together along with some absolutely dominant performances. With that being said, they are prone to a couple of losses with four so far this season.
The experience of their players who have been in this position before is definitely an added bonus compared to much of the Liverpool side.
Only time will tell if they can go back-to-back and break Liverpool hearts.
Can Sergio do it again for City?
Bournemouth (A) Watford (H) Fulham (A) Cardiff (H) Palace (A) Tottenham (H) Man United (A) Burnley (A) Leicester (H) Brighton (A)
City look to have a similar run home to Liverpool with 2 games against ‘big gun’ opponents. This is headlined by a Manchester Derby in a months time which could be huge in the scheme of the season.
The rest of these matches look like a formality with Leicester offering up the toughest task.
What They Must Do
What City has in their favour is an experienced squad.
Many of this team have been in this position before so the pressure faced will be a bit more manageable. If they can draw on this experience and count on Liverpool slipping up, they will go a long way to winning their 4th title.
Let Sergio do his thing. We know how good Aguero is, and he’s even better in clutch moments. He can win the title for City with some big performances in the home stretch.
Guardiola is one of the best tacticians in the game and the players must trust the strategies he puts in place. If the players can put into practice what the manager has in store each match, they will more than likely get the results they need.
Prediction: 95 points – Champions
City’s composure under pressure and class in the big moments will get them over the line. I’m predicting this will come right down to the wire though with anything being a possibility on matchday 38!