‘Bridesmaids’ to fight it out for 3rd
Leicester City’s shock victory leaves Man City and Arsenal picking up the crumbs after King Power Stadium celebrations
It is difficult to fathom as no one would have prognosticated that English soccer aristocrats Manchester City and Arsenal would today be engaged in a dogfight for third position. But the fairytale run of an unfancied side from the East Midlands, Leicester City, has conjured up an unlikely scenario that finds the two giants playing bridesmaids.
By the time The Citizens – dubbed Noisy Neighbours by that manager par excellence, Sir Alex Ferguson – and the Gunners meet at the hallowed Etihad Stadium this afternoon, The Foxes’ players will be recovering from a hangover induced by the party that was bound to follow yesterday’s trophy presentation at the King Power Stadium.
So the array of stars such as Yaya Touré, Sergio Agüero, Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and their teammates will fight tooth and nail to ensure that their club stays in touch to at least see Uefa Champions League action next season.
Not an exit that manager Manuel Pellegrini would have liked or even envisaged.
The Chilean is on his way out and is just warming the seat for Spanish mentor Pep Guardiola who will take over in the new season having already put ink to paper.
At 64 points, Man City go into today’s home fixture trailing third-placed Arsenal by three points. A win would see them catch up with the on and off, on again Arsène Wenger-led team.
Wenger himself, is facing demos of his own with many of The Gunners’ diehards having had to write and rewrite his epitaph.
But the Frenchman has proved he has the proverbial nine lives of a cat as his teams continue to flatter to deceive season after season.
A few games into this season, those who swear by the red and white of Emirates Stadium, would have put down their last Pound that this was their club’s time to lift the ever elusive Premiership title. But now, the feeling of déjà vu is reigning supreme. Owners have stuck with Wenger through thick and thin and they might just have a point as the club’s longest serving manager, having come on board in 1996, is still the club’s most successful in terms of major titles won.
Also, the club, founded in 1886, can hardly plead poverty, thanks to Wenger’s knack of qualifying for the Champions League year in and year out.
Once the ball is kicked from the centre circle, it will be up to the likes of Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez, Danny Welbeck and Petr Čech to ensure that they maintain whatever integrity of
BATTLE Theo Walcott of Arsenal and Kevin de Bruyne of Man City in a Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in December. The two giants meet today at the Etihad Stadium RIO BOUND? Irvette van Zyl is not sure if she has made the Olympic team