MANCHESTER: Just one point separates the cumulative tallies of Manchester City and Liverpool over the past four Premier League seasons, so there is little surprise that the powerhouses head into the final round of the current campaign with all still to play for.
The final weekend of the season – Sunday – promises blockbuster action as relegation and Champions League qualification too go down to the wire. However, the title race is where most eyes will be trained.
The battle for supremacy between City and Liverpool has been a repeating storyline over recent seasons, with Pep Guardiola’s defending champion only one point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s team heading into Sunday. To illustrate how evenly matched the sides have been, City has amassed 355 points since the start of the 2018-19 season while Liverpool has accumulated 354.
If City defeats Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola will clinch his fourth PL trophy, one league title better than what he managed in the clubs he was previously at. For now, the Spaniard has three league crowns each with Barcelona (La Liga), Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) and City. City, on 90 points that is one more than the second-placed Liverpool, will bag its sixth PL trophy – its fourth in the last five years – with a home victory over Villa.
The situation has echoes of the 2018-19 season, when City edged out Liverpool to the title by just a solitary point. Any hope of Liverpool great and current Villa boss Steven Gerrard doing his former club a favour could be dampened by the fact that City has won its last six league matches against the Midlands outfit.
FA Cup and League Cup winner Liverpool has a favourable fixture at Anfield against Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves), which has not won in six games. However, with the chances of City slipping up considered slim, Klopp’s players may have one eye on the Champions League final date with Real Madrid next Saturday (Sunday in IST).
Tottenham Hotspur can secure its return to Europe’s elite club competition with a draw or win against the already-relegated Norwich City. Having leapfrogged its London rival Arsenal (66 points from 37 matches) into fourth place, Spurs (68 points from 37 matches) is the heavy favourite against the bottom-placed club.
Arsenal will host an Everton team that is riding high after ensuring survival with a comeback triumph against Crystal Palace. That means either Leeds United or Burnley will be the third team to be relegated from the top tier (Watford and Norwich are already down).
While Leeds will travel to Brentford – the surprise package of the PL season – Burnley will host the much improved Newcastle United.