Can Man City Still Claim the Title?

6 Feb

This is a guest post from Peter.

Going against the bookie’s odds, and in something of an unexpected turn, Man City lost to Newcastle City, and this has only served to knock the title race wide open again. Although Liverpool only managed a 1-1 draw against Leicester City it has still left them five points clear of the current title holders, and they will be aiming to increase that gap with every remaining match, so is
it all over for City?

Well, according to manager Pep Guardiola this is nothing more than a setback. He admitted that his team did not have their best night, despite such a strong start in the first 25 seconds. There was then some trouble at the mill, when Kevin De Bruyne, taking a yellow card on the first half looked the perfect candidate for a second after fouling Matt Richie. Sensibly he was substituted off the pitch to avoid further trouble, and this could well have unsettled the team. The boss felt that this was not the fault of the player,
however, instead citing the whole team, specifically the full-full-backs for not supporting him as strongly as they should have.

However, Guardiola remains confident that this is early in the season still and there are plenty of points left to be won, and in the case of Liverpool, we assume he hopes don’t win. Summing up the current situation he said “It is a lot of points if we are going to win but at the same time it is January, and it is not April or May. We have many games, and anything can happen. A lot of
teams play for many reasons – Premier League, Europa League and Champions League – and in every game, we have to do our best to be there. We will try and not give up and move forward and try another time.”

There seems to be some speculation that his team were starting to crack slightly under the pressure of the challenges ahead, but again he was quick to defend them as well any good manager should. His view on the Newcastle defeat was that his team had purposefully attacked without aggression, although he wasn’t clear on why they took such a meek line for the game. Perhaps they had assumed the game was in the bag with Newcastle only sitting 14th on the table, whatever the reason the tactic for the match did not pan out as expected. He is, of course, correct to say there are still enough points in the remaining game for them to retain the title although we are sure Benitez will have other ideas and will be keen to press on with his team’s lead. It has been 28 years since Liverpool managed to lift the trophy and sitting top of the table is clearly going to be great for their confidence as the season continues. With Tottenham just two points behind, and the Gunners and Chelsea lurking just behind that, feel could still be anyone’s title.

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