Manchester Evening News

Pep believes title chase is far from a two-horse race as crucial run starts


A THREE-HORSE race for the Premier League title would be at least one more than everyone is used to these days, but Pep Guardiola was refusing to stop it there on Wednesday night.

Aston Villa are just three points behind City, Spurs only two after yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Everton, and Arsenal are currently level before today’s clash with Liverpool.

This season, more than ever, there is the sense that any team is capable of beating any other.

That absence of invincibil­ity around any side has led to a belief that fewer points will be needed to win the title this year.

It is already mathematic­ally impossible for anyone to match the 100 points City got in 2018 that stands as the Premier League record, and the more balanced field should lead to a downgradin­g of points needed to end up in first.

Looking at City’s results so far compared to last year certainly supports this idea.

They are currently ten points worse off in their respective fixtures; despite gaining five points from wins at United and Newcastle away, they have dropped points where they didn’t last year against Wolves, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Villa, and Palace.

To be so far behind after more than half of the campaign suggests that City will struggle to match their previous tally.

However, there is an opportunit­y for the Blues over the next four games that could almost wipe out that deficit – given they only drew with Everton at home last year and lost both matches against Brentford, that is eight points that Guardiola’s side can make up in the next few weeks. It is of course no easy task to think that City can win their next four games, but they won their last eight in all competitio­ns and talk is starting to turn of the runs that they and Liverpool are capable of putting together. For all the talk of how competitiv­e the top flight has been this season, there is still the potential for one or two horses to bolt away from the rest.

If they are to do that, it feels like this could be the month of change where perception­s will start to shift more widely but also at City.

March has been billed as a critical month for City given the fixture list, and that certainly looks the case for now.

But the squad are entering the business part of the season where they know how to pull away and in their next four games are opportunit­ies to make noteworthy improvemen­ts on what they managed to do last season. Win those, and a 90-point finish may start to look more possible.

There is a belief fewer points will be required to win the league this season Simon Bajkowski

 ?? ?? Pep Guardiola chats to Burnley boss – and former City legend – Vincent Kompany
Pep Guardiola chats to Burnley boss – and former City legend – Vincent Kompany

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