One-horse race: Man City march towards the Premier League title
As their rivals falter, Pep Guardiola’s side maintain the momentum
Just one month ago the Premier League title race looked like it would be one of the most exciting in years, with four or five teams challenging for first place. Roll on a few weeks, there’s one club who have started to sprint away from the pack.
After beating Everton 3-1 on Wednesday night Manchester City have built a ten-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. Pep Guardiola’s side have now won 12 league games in a row and 17 in all competitions.
As well as the Premier League, City also remain in the hunt for the Champions League, FA Cup and the League Cup, where they face Tottenham in the final at Wembley on 25 April.
‘It is a procession’
Carlo Ancelotti, manager of Everton, believes it’s “almost impossible” to compete against Guardiola’s side and predicts City will go on to win their third Premier League title in four seasons.
“I think so, it is really difficult to say another name,” said the Italian. “At the moment they are the best team, they have quality, power, belief. It is very difficult to compete with them.”
At Goodison Park City put on “another exhibition of their vast superiority”, said The Guardian’s Andy Hunter. “There is no title race at present. It is a procession.”
42 points to fight for
Since losing 2-0 at Tottenham in November City have gone on to take 44 points from a possible 48. Speaking after the 3-0 win against Spurs last weekend Guardiola said “nobody is champion” in February or March and he has again played down the title talk.
“There are 42 points still to fight for, we are in the middle of February,” he said after the Everton victory. “Now we rest for a few days, there are so many games.”
Klopp concedes title but United will fight on
While City are sprinting away from the pack, their rivals are faltering. Last weekend defending champions Liverpool lost 3-1 at fellow challengers Leicester City and Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion.
Liverpool currently sit in sixth place, 16 points behind City. Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp admits that his side’s title defence is all but over. He said: “I don’t think we can close the gap. We are not worrying about the title, we are not silly.”
Man Utd are second in the league with 46 points from 24 games - the same as third-placed Leicester. Man City’s form looks unstoppable but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says United will fight until the end.
“Let’s just build momentum and win games,” the United boss told BBC Sport. “They [City] are in good form. Us and Leicester have to put up a fight.”
In an interview with Sky Sports, Solskjaer added: “I said we shouldn’t be talked about [in the title race]. A compliment for the boys we got into the position we are now. We won’t let them [Manchester City] run away with it - we’re playing them soon. We’re not giving it away early - no we’re not.”