Five reasons why Man City will win title ahead of Liverpool
With the Premier League title now seemingly in the grasp of Man City, we take a look at five reasons why the club will secure the title
Lightning never strikes twice
Manchester City may be involved in a title race set to go to the wire, but their man at the helm will reluctantly look back to his 2009/10 campaign where he had the La Liga title in his grasp. With the closing stage in sight, Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Madrid welcomed Barcelona to the Bernabeu. Madrid lost 2-0 – their rivals went on to win the league and Pellegrini was sacked as Jose Mourinho was drafted in. The repercussions may not be so severe if City fail to close out the season as predicted but anything other than top-spot is now unthinkable amongst fans at the Etihad. Despite being relinquished of his services in the Spanish capital, The Engineer amassed a win rate of 75 per cent at the club, a percentage which remains the highest for a manager of the Galacticos. Yet, it was the failure to secure the league after being in poll position which would have hurt the Chilean most. For that to happen again on his watch, is unthinkable – he will be gearing his troops up to close out the season in style and avoid that heartache.
Relentless home form
The Sky Blues were heavily criticised for a dithering start to the campaign on the road but what has followed has been nothing short of impressive. After their first six games away from home, the team has totted up 30 points from a possible 39 but it is the home form that is to be the key for the remainder of the season. City welcome Aston Villa to the Etihad on Wednesday before hosting West Ham four days later, in a match that could decide whether the title stays in Manchester or not. However, whoever the opponent, last day of the season nerves are cannot be combated. Just ask Roberto Mancini. Needing a victory to clinch the title, His Manchester City side fell behind to Queens Park Rangers two years ago, needing two injury-time strikes to rescue them from a match which would have longed lived in City folklore for all the wrong reasons. If Liverpool manage to beat Crystal Palace later today and City earn three points over Wednesday, it will be a final day to remember but City will surely make light work of the task ahead to avoid putting their fans through the emotions of the 2011/12 season.
On that remarkable day where City ended their 44-year wait for a title, opponents QPR were in the relegation zone and needing a miracle to continue their stay in the top flight. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Aston Villa and the Hammers have little to fight for, already beginning preparations for next term. There is a danger that having no pressure could be a worry for City, but they would much rather face a pressure-free side rather than one engaged in a relegation battle fighting for their lives. Paul Lambert and Sam Allardyce will be keen to avoid any embarrassment but losses will not have any detrimental effect on their respective campaigns. Whether each side sits back or comes to play will remain to be told, though it is a certainty that the hosts will have room to roam. With that room, especially at home, there is only one winner.
One of the best moves that Pellegrini made after arriving in the North West was to voice his belief in Edin Dzeko. There were murmurings that the Bosnian could be on his way out but he has proved to be a vital part of City’s title charge – especially in the final part of the season. With Sergio Aguero injured, Dzeko stepped up to the plate, but what is worse for Liverpool fans is that the Argentinean is back and already firing, as Everton will contest to. Alvaro Negredo may be experiencing a goal drought to forget but with Dzeko and Aguero firing, there is little to worry about. City have scored over three goals at home on average this season and the team have every chance of abiding by that in their coming matches. Add midfield maestro Yaya Toure to the equation, with 19 league goals, and what City have when bearing in on goal is near unstoppable. The Ivorian has been one of the finest performers in Europe this campaign, reminding Barcelona on just what they let go. The 30-year-old may have missed out on being named player of the year by the Football Writers’ Association, finishing third behind Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, but worryingly for Brendan Rodgers’ team, that is sure to only make him even hungrier in ensuring the title is secured.
Yaya hoping for bragging rights
Another element to this season is the fact that as well as two rival cities fighting for Premier League glory, is two brothers. They may already both be title winners but Yaya and Kolo Toure will both be hoping to claim bragging rights amongst one another. Both were part of the Man City squad that won the title in 2011/12 but this situation is slightly different. Yayo, three years junior of Kolo, may have been preparing to concede the title but now his men lie in poll position. The Man City man has admitted that family ties have been stretched as the season enters the final week but whoever claims the league is sure to a deserved winner. Liverpool have at times been unplayable and apart from a slip from talisman Steven Gerrard, may still have held their destiny in their own hands. But credit where credit is due, Pellegrini’s men have kept on plugging away, earmarked by a fine 3-2 victory at Everton, to catapult them back into title contention. The Premier League continues to present us with unexpected twists and turns week in, week out, but now it is City’s title to lose.