Now City Have Everything To Lose...

It looks like that's that at the top of the table, but Liverpool cannot allow themselves to think for a second that they have thrown it away. Now is the time to crank up the pressure...

Last Updated: 03/05/14 at 21:15 Post Comment

Latest Articles

The Bitter Taste Of Arsenal Déjà Vu

45 comments

A disastrous night on which Arsenal were humbled by a side with which they should at least be competing. How much is Arsene Wenger to blame for a repeated failure?

Forget Falcao, United Loving Angel Instead

26 comments

Forget it only being QPR, Louis van Gaal and Manchester United needed to make a statement on Sunday. Angel Di Maria did so emphatically...

All Articles

The championship may be an arduous affair decided over 38 games but this match brought two telling moments that are destined to have an enormous impact on the title race. First, a fingertip save from Joe Hart to deny Steven Naismith at the start of the second half and then, two minutes later, a simple finish for Edin Dzeko to give the visitors an insurmountable 3-1 lead. In those two moments the title race turned back in Manchester City's favour; in those two moments Steven Gerrard's hopes of a reprieve slipped away. It is unlikely that the 23rd change in the lead at the top of the Premier League will be the last - Liverpool only need a point against Crystal Palace to return to the summit - but it is certainly the most pivotal. It is now City's title to lose and, should they fail to beat Aston Villa and West Ham at the Etihad in the final week, it will have been lost in some style.

A team of City's quality cannot be allowed too many chances in a game of catch-up, with Gerrard's mistake affording Manuel Pellegrini one last shot at redemption. City blew it against Liverpool and blew it against Sunderland, but the strength of their squad - so important in maintaining a convincing challenge - was underlined by David Silva's introduction with 15 minutes remaining against Everton. When Liverpool desperately required a goal at home to Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers was forced to turn to Iago Aspas, whose corner kick will never be forgotten.

Although they were given a significant leg-up by Chelsea's victory at Anfield, City deserve credit for regaining their composure in the last two matches as they eased to victory over Crystal Palace and survived a difficult test at Everton. They had won only once in their last 15 visits to Goodison but appeared unperturbed by that statistic on Saturday evening. It was a professional performance reminiscent of the crucial 2-0 win at Newcastle in May 2012 on the way to securing their first championship in 44 years. A second in three seasons, again claimed on goal difference, is almost certain to follow.

Despite that fact, it should be noted that City have lost something since their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in February, and it seems rather incongruous that their last 12 games have yielded seven points fewer than the 12 that preceded that loss. City have also scored 12 goals fewer over that period as a sticky patch in the Premier League was exacerbated by defeats to Barcelona in the Champions League and Wigan in the FA Cup. This has not been a surge to the title by any stretch.

But although City's momentum has stalled, Pellegrini can point to one key area in which he has proved his credentials. As the manager said on Friday, the improvement in City's away form has been an influential aspect of their title challenge, emphasised by the fight-back victory over Everton. "It is very important to be fighting until the end because we started the season playing very badly away. We won just four points from the first 18," said Pellegrini. "But, from that moment on, we've been one of the best away teams. It is important to continue playing that way."

Indeed, while Liverpool needed only a point against Chelsea to keep the title race in their favour - something they appeared to forget at Anfield last week - City required all three away to Everton in a task that became significantly tougher when Ross Barkley curled in a sublime opening goal. That did little to knock City's confidence, though, and they recovered to assert their authority even after Sergio Aguero was forced off with an injury he sustained when drilling in the equaliser. Thanks to Dzeko's brace, the visitors picked up their ninth win on the road in 13 matches - remarkable consistency that has allowed them to put one hand on the trophy.

It is not over yet, of course, and Liverpool cannot allow themselves to consider for a second that they have thrown it away. Win against Palace on Monday and the pressure remains on City not to mess it up at home to Villa on Wednesday night. The manner of City's unforgettable 3-2 victory over QPR on the final day in 2012 should give the Reds encouragement that anything can happen in the final week, while Sunderland's recent feats the Etihad and Stamford Bridge provide another timely ounce of hope.

City have earned the right to throw it away in the final two games, but Liverpool can help them to do that by maintaining their momentum. Nothing is won yet, but there is still everything to lose.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

riting a minute by minute account on Berbatov would be like chronicling the days of the guy punished for sloth in the movie Se7en. Day 4 - lay in bed, did nothing - 15th minute, stood there did nothing .

lustral
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Champions League: Jose Mourinho rues missed chances in Schalke draw

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Chelsea's failure to kill off Schalke with a second goal before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's equaliser.

Champions League: Jerome Boateng sinks Manchester City as Bayern Munich win 1-0

A deflected late Jerome Boateng strike against his former side was enough for Bayern Munich to beat Man City 1-0.

Champions League: Chelsea draw 1-1 with Schalke at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by Schalke at Stamford Bridge in their opening Group G Champions League clash.

Mail Box

I've Given It Some Thought: He's Got To Go

There is some more considered reaction to Arsenal and Liverpool's results, plus a big get well soon message for Jonas Gutierrez. And an apology to Merse...

B**locks To That, I'm Going To Sit In The Shed

Arsenal supporters given their understandable reaction to the debacle in Dortmund, whilst Liverpool fans weren't too impressed either. Still, at least they won...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property