In the Rocky films, you get two heavyweights trading haymaker for haymaker. For most of you boxing fans out there you will know this seldom happens. Football is a different story. As this weekend the Premierships two top contenders were both in spectacular form, trading blow for blow. Liverpool puffed out their chest and put on a convincing 3-0 defeat of Bournemouth. That victory leapfrogged them ahead of City.
City, who had an arguably far sterner test at home to Chelsea were in scintillating form and made the blues look bang-average as they hit six goals past them. Chelsea fans are becoming disillusioned with Sarri. After a strong start, Chelsea have faltered and getting such a pasting may end up being the nail in the Italian’s coffin.
So who is going to win?
It really is anybody’s game at the moment. Man City sit atop the pile on goal difference (bolstered massively by their six unanswered goals). But then Liverpool have a game in hand and they only have to get a point in that to return to the summit. Man City are the bookies favourite by a slither and they do have the experience, but Liverpool are good at both ends of the pitch. Their defence has only shipped 15 goals in the league – a remarkable achievement.
The Spurs factor
This is not just a two horse race! Optimistic Man Utd fans may claim with their form they still have a shot. They probably don’t. Spurs, on the other hand, are only 6 points away from being atop the pile themselves and they still have to play both Liverpool and Man City. The North London side have won four on the bounce now and while they haven’t been steam-rolling sides like Liverpool and Chelsea they have been scraping wins which is often the mark of a title-winning side. It may be that Spurs end up as the team who decides who does win the league rather than the league winners this year.
Liverpool and City both have a comparable run-in to the final game. They both have a similar amount of stern tests although Liverpool do face a Merseyside derby. However, they do have the game in hand which may yet be an ace in the hole. Spurs, by comparison, have a much tougher time as they have yet to face Chelsea and Arsenal. Although if they win those two games people may start to take their title push seriously and it is notable that their current streak continues in the absence of their talismanic striker, Harry Kane.
Down to the wire
If it does go down to the wire it will be interesting, to say the least. Man City are away from home to a Leicester City side that can be problematic on their day. And then face a home clash against struggling Brighton. They will be hoping they are safe and sound by that point.
Liverpool have a tricky away clash to relegation-battling Newcastle, who have one of the best defensive records in the bottom half. When you mention Newcastle against Liverpool it is hard to forget the epic 4-3 matches the teams exchanged when both teams were legitimate title contenders in the early nineties. They then face a home clash against Wolves who have UEFA cup aspirations.
Spurs Go to Bournemouth and then host Everton. Both of the ties could prove tricky, however, neither side would have much to play for. If they are still in the mix at the end of the season that just might give them the edge. Of course, that will be no mean feat for a team with a reputation for being also-rans.