LONDON (Reuters) – What was shaping as much as be a gripping three-horse Premier League title race heading into Christmas is threatening to become a Manchester City romp to a fourth crown in 5 seasons.
Pep Guardiola’s facet opened up an eight-point hole on Wednesday because of a 1-0 win nL1N2TE1PS at Brentford and can search to start the brand new 12 months as they ended the previous once they go to Arsenal on Saturday looking for an eleventh straight league win.
Should that occur they’d be 11 factors away from Chelsea and 12 forward of Liverpool, who’ve a recreation in hand, earlier than their two rivals conflict at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
While fourth-placed Arsenal have additionally been in spectacular type with 4 successive wins, Mikel Arteta’s facet have fallen quick in opposition to the large boys this season and have been thrashed 5-0 away to City in August.
Guardiola rubbished recommendations that one other title was roughly within the bag after the win at Brentford, however the proof on the contrary is stacking up.
Only 5 occasions within the Premier League period has there been a spot of not less than eight factors on the high heading into Jan. 1 and on every of these events the leaders gained the title.
In eight of the final 12 seasons the group on the summit on the flip of the 12 months proved uncatchable.
While their rivals have suffered from the COVID-19 surge that meant 16 video games have been postponed in December, City have even managed to dodge that curve ball, successful all seven video games within the closing month of the 12 months, scoring 24 objectives and conceding 5.
Their factors tally of fifty is their second-highest after 20 video games from their 4 Premier League title seasons — behind solely the extraordinary 58 they managed in 2017-18.
“The spectacular factor is the variety of objectives they’re scoring,” Alan Shearer, who gained the title with Blackburn Rovers, informed Amazon Prime.
“But aside from (the 6-3 win over) Leicester on Boxing Day, they’re hardly conceding too, which goes to make it actually tough for Chelsea and Liverpool to get again into the race, notably when you take a look at City’s subsequent two video games (Arsenal and Chelsea). If they win these it’s just about over.”
City’s irresistible surge means Sunday’s conflict at Stamford Bridge might all however knock the losers out of the race.
Liverpool are smarting from their 1-0 defeat nL1N2TD1HV at Leicester City on Tuesday whereas Chelsea conceded a stoppage-time equaliser nL1N2TE1OI to Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.
After three attracts of their final 4 video games, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta stated a win over Liverpool could be the proper method to kick-start the chase of City.
“Hopefully we can provide our followers a great begin to the brand new 12 months in entrance of the followers right here in opposition to Liverpool,” he stated. “It is a tricky second, however we have to stick collectively and dig in.
“It shouldn’t be a straightforward state of affairs however that is how we’ve got to beat these tough moments.”
While City have seized management of the title chase, the top-four race seems like being a season-long battle between Arsenal, West Ham United, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
West Ham, who’re fifth, journey to Crystal Palace on Saturday after Tottenham Hotspur, nonetheless unbeaten within the league beneath new supervisor Antonio Conte, go to struggling Watford.
Manchester United host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday.
As the January switch window opens, all eyes will likely be on Newcastle United and whether or not they may flex their new monetary muscle mass in a bid to flee the relegation zone.
They journey to Southampton on Sunday.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)