League title to go down to the wire – Guardiola


Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola gestures as he walks with his players leaving the ...
Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola gestures as he walks with his players leaving the pitch at half time during the UEFA Champions League second leg quarter-final football match between Manchester City and Liverpool, at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony Devlin

In Summary

  • Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes this season's Premier League title race "won't be decided until the last fixture or two".
  • Successive draws against Leicester and West Ham mean leaders Liverpool will be overtaken by City on goal difference if they win at Everton on Wednesday.
  • Third-placed Tottenham are only five points off top spot - and still have both teams above them left to play.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes this season’s Premier League title race “won’t be decided until the last fixture or two”.

Successive draws against Leicester and West Ham mean leaders Liverpool will be overtaken by City on goal difference if they win at Everton on Wednesday.

Third-placed Tottenham are only five points off top spot – and still have both teams above them left to play.

City host Leicester and will be  at Brighton in their last two league games.

Liverpool’s last two fixtures sees them travel to Newcastle before playing Wolves at Anfield on 12 May, the final day of the league season. Tottenham will be at Bournemouth on 4 May and host Everton on the final day.

City’s game against Everton has been brought forward from 23 February, as Guardiola’s side play Chelsea the following day in the Carabao Cup final.

It means Liverpool’s game in hand, which will be played on the same day, is at in-form Manchester United.

As Liverpool were knocked out at the opening stage of both domestic cup competitions, City are guaranteed to end the season having played at least seven more games than Jurgen Klopp’s side.

That number will rise should they reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, whilst City also have a more favourable draw in the last 16 of the Champions League as they face Schalke. Liverpool have a heavyweight tussle with five-time winners Bayern Munich.

Guardiola accepts the additional workload could count against his players, particularly in what he calls the “terrible month” of February, when the competing priorities of four competitions must be balanced.

He says his side cannot look beyond Everton but, if they can get through that, and then Sunday’s home Premier League game with Chelsea, City will be getting towards the point where they can start to think about trophies, knowing they still have a chance of completing an unprecedented quadruple.

“It takes a big mental effort to be consistent in every single competition, when you know, if you lose one game, you can lose that competition. It demands a lot of stress,” he said.

“At the same time, when you get to March, the days are longer, the sun is out, the training sessions are in better conditions and you can take a coffee outside. If you are still in four competitions it is an extra plus because you realise you can do something special.

“But, right now, we are not in that position.”

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