Where will Premier League title be won and lost?
In the words of Kevin McAllister from Home Alone: “This is it. Don’t get scared now.”
We have entered the final weeks of the Premier League season and the title race is set to be one of, if not the greatest in history. Both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have already said their teams must win all of their remaining games to have a chance of being crowned champions.
That is how tight this will be.
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Liverpool lead Manchester City by two points, but Guardiola’s side have a game in hand over Liverpool. Would you rather have points on the board or games to play at this stage of the season? It would seem the former is preferable, meaning Liverpool have a bit of an edge.
Given the kindness of their schedule in their final four games, Klopp’s side are also licking their chops in anticipation of a first-ever PL title and their first league trophy since 1989-90. The elusive title is so close, Liverpool’s fans, players and staff can almost taste it.
As for Man City, everybody is expecting them to slip up, but the equation for them is simple: win all five of their remaining games and they will be back-to-back PL champions with 98 points on the board. Quite remarkably, Liverpool could win all four of their remaining games and secure 97 points but not win the title.
Below we take a look at where the title will be won and lost in the remaining games.
Apr. 21: Cardiff City (A)
Apr. 28: Huddersfield (H)
May 5: Newcastle (A)
May 12: Wolves (H)
The way they are playing right now, there is basically a 99.9 percent chance that Liverpool are going to win their final four games of the season. Mohamed Salah is back in form, Jordan Henderson is playing like a man possessed and defensively they are very solid. Cardiff could be pretty much relegated by the time their clash with Liverpool rolls around on Sunday, while Huddersfield are already down, Newcastle aren’t playing for anything and Wolves’ seventh-place hopes could be dashed before the final day of the season. Simply put, if Liverpool play to 75 percent of their potential in their last four games, they will win them all.
The only problem is that coming up against teams like Newcastle and Wolves who have little to play for and have talented attacking players on the counter, is dangerous. And if Wolves need a win on the final day to finish in seventh and qualify for Europe, Anfield will be a nervous place. If Liverpool beat Cardiff, Huddersfield and Newcastle, it will go to the final day of the season. Then, the game against Wolves, a team who have played and shocked most of the top six this season, is the big one.
Apr. 20: Tottenham (H)
Apr. 24: Man United (A)
Apr. 28: Burnley (A)
May 4: Leicester City (H)
May 12: Brighton (A)
On paper, this is not an easy run-in at all. It appears that the next two games will decide where the title will go. Spurs at home and a trip to Man United in the space of four days is pivotal for Pep Guardiola’s men, as their game in hand (a Manchester derby which will confuse the heck out of Man United) will see them pull one point clear ahead of both teams playing on Apr. 28. City travel to Burnley and Liverpool host Huddersfield on that day, and if City do beat both Spurs and Man United, getting past Burnley at Turf Moor is a tricky proposition. The Clarets have been in fine form in recent weeks and City have struggled there in the past, and with Burnley almost safe from relegation (and probably safe by the time that game rolls around) there is no pressure on them.
There is also the added prospect of Leicester traveling to Man City on May 4, as Brendan Rodgers can do his old club Liverpool a massive favor in the title race five years on from leading Liverpool so close to a PL title, but losing out to Man City, himself. Like Burnley, Leicester are flying high (aside from that blip against Newcastle) and they are pushing for seventh place and European qualification. If City can somehow go into the final day of the season with a one point advantage, you feel they will get the job done at Brighton. But an added layer there is that the Seagulls could also need the points as they battle against relegation. Simply put: City have the harder schedule compared to Liverpool, but with their game in-hand and superior goal difference, many would still back them to win the title.