Have Manchester City all but conceded the defence of their Premier League crown to Liverpool after their shocking defeat against Newcastle United?
Pep Guardiola has always said that it would be almost impossible for his team to catch Liverpool in the Premier League if they were dropping points and now they have done precisely that. The defeat against Newcastle might not have closed the title race but surely given Liverpool a tiny boost.
The only positive thing for Manchester City is that there are a lot of games left to play but surely the optimism won’t be in the Citizens camp after the damaging defeat in the midweek round against Rafa Benitez’s men.
Manchester City have had a brilliant first part of the season with some top football. But, now it looks as if the roof has fallen, destroying everything they have built. In fact, the Citizens started to wobble over Christmas and allowed Liverpool to get a solid lead at the top of the table. The win in January in the head-to-head clash opened things for a while but still, it looks like Manchester City are losing the sparkle in the midst of fixture congestion.
The feeling is that if things continue like this, Pep Guardiola will prioritise the Champions League – this is the real trophy that will make the Spaniard remembered in the history of the club. Surely gambling everything on winning the Champions League is risky business as there are so many great teams competing, but it might be the only thing left to save the season especially if they continue to submit easily to teams in the Premier League like they did at Newcastle.
We can certainly see that City do have some issues to fix as they have now been conceded their fourth defeat in their season but the biggest problem in the Premier League is that Liverpool are just continuing to win games.
Winning against Newcastle was a great opportunity to cut the lead to just one point and pile the pressure over the Reds. This looked to be the case after Man City managed to find a goal after only 26 seconds, but it wasn’t to be in the end.
City’s defence did show some problems over the Christmas period but things looked to have been resolved, with 33 goals scored and just two conceded in the following eight games leading up to the Newcastle clash. Pep Guardiola said that this match against Magpies would be a final; unfortunately for him it was a losing one.
The Citizens couldn’t capitalise on their early advantage, with sloppy passes and loose touches that made things worse. Newcastle didn’t do much upfront but they were able to hit at the right time. The fact that Benitez’s men were still in the game at the hour mark helped their confidence and Salomon Rondon made City pay when they failed to clear their lines.
Guardiola reacted by bringing in Gabriel Jesus but things didn’t change and eventually, City conceded a penalty that Matt Ritchie brought home.
Is it the title race over now?
The Best Betting Sites in the UK surely believe this to be the cases as odds on Liverpool were immediately cut after the Citizens defeat. It is probably far too early to say that but Liverpool have been solid and they have given no reasons to think that they will slip. The Reds are winning both the tight and the open games and they do that very comfortably.
Before the match, Guardiola conceded that basically, his team would need to win all their games to have a chance of defending the title.
The Spaniard does not see Liverpool slip up and this is understandable as Klopp hasn’t got much wrong in the last few months and it is difficult to see things changing.