It is the penultimate week before conclusion of the most exciting 2018/19 season and with only two games to go, we ask the million dollar question; will Manchester City break a decade long record and successfully defend the Premier League for the first time since Man United in 2009.
At this stage it is fair to say it looks most likely that Pep Guardiola’s men look good value to achieve this feat. Guardiola comes with a reputation of winning three consecutive league trophies in two different countries: Spain (Barcelona, 2008-11) and Germany (Bayern Munich, 2013-16).
Guardiola’s City are top of the table on 92 points, just a point above second-placed Liverpool. They also have superior goal difference of 68 compared to Liverpool’s 64.
But the margins are very delicate between the two teams such that any slip up could be disastrous at this stage. Last season, City finished with 100 points, 19 above second placed Man United. They won 32 of the total 38 matches.
But this season it’s slightly different. It is too close to call. City have won 30 of the 36 games which means if they win the remaining two against Leicester City on Monday and Brighton on the final day next week Sunday, they will equal last season’s 32 wins but finish on 98 points because they have lost four this season which is more than last season’s two loses.
At the beginning of the season, BBC runs a questionnaire to 24 football pundits. Out of the total, 21 predicted Man City will win the league while only three put Liverpool at the top. The pundits put United on third, Tottenham on fourth while Chelsea and Arsenal were on fifth and sixth in that order.
As the season draws to the end, it seems they were not very far from the truth except on Man United who are sixth. Second place is an improvement for Liverpool who finished third last season, but very hard to take because there was a time in the season they were nine points above Man City but too many draws could cost Liverpool the trophy. Liverpool have seven draws and only one loss while Man City have two draws and four loses.
I hope it will not be another season where Liverpool came so close but still far. Their 3-0 loss in Champions League semi-final to Barcelona means this could be another trophyless season. It is very unfair on Jurgen Klopp, who in four years, has transformed Liverpool into serious title contenders, reaching three finals (Carabao 2016, Europa 2016 and Champions League 2018) but no trophy.
But they have everything to play for. Miracles can happen. They play against Newcastle today in a match they cannot afford to lose nor draw. If they win, they will go above City and pressure will be on Man City who play Leicester City on Monday. Liverpool’s last match is against Wolves.
The fight for Champions League positions continues with Tottenham (70) playing away against Bournemouth, Chelsea (68) on fourth against stubborn Watford while fifth-placed Arsenal (66) face Brighton and Man United (65) and sixth face relegated Huddersfield. Everything to play for. n