Premier League Title Now Manchester City’s to Lose After Derby Success
The race for the Premier League title has seemingly been a game of cat and mouse between Liverpool and Manchester City for some time now. Whatever one team could do, the other could match it. Liverpool more often than not found themselves at the top, but that was always because City were a game behind. The Reds don’t have that luxury now though, and Pep Guardiola’s side find themselves in the driving seat after overcoming their bitter rivals in the Manchester derby to win their game in hand.
Premier League Title Now Manchester City’s to Lose
After the horror show against Everton at the weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer issued a change in shape that seemed to work. The defensive three (five when defending as Ashley Young and Luke Shaw dropped back) held firm and frustrated City in the first half.
Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva probed around the back line but even when they did manage to get in behind, their delivery either lacked quality or was well snuffed out by Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof.
That wasn’t an issue in the second half though. Previously, City had been trying too hard to effectively walk it into the net and weren’t willing to just hit it. Whatever was said at half-time changed that.
Nine minutes after the restart, Bernardo fired City in front when he used Shaw as a shield in front of David de Gea and fired into the bottom corner to beat the Spaniard at his near post. Perhaps de Gea might feel disappointed to be beaten there but take nothing away from the cleverness of the strike.
United’s keeper, though, will no doubt be disappointed with City’s second. Again, it was a case of them having a go at goal rather than playing passes on the edge of the area, and it paid off. Leroy Sane lashed one from the edge of the area and will have been wanting to pull it across de Gea. Instead, it went towards the near post and the keeper could only shin the ball further into the corner and double the advantage.
City at the Wheel
Finally, Manchester City have control of this title race. Their final potential banana skin game is next week away at Burnley, but if they can dominate a Manchester derby as much as they did here, is there really any doubt around whether they can brush aside a side that have been threatened with relegation for much of the season?
Credit must be given to both City and Liverpool for the excitement they have given to this Premier League title race, but with Manchester City being such a well-oiled machine and Liverpool still considered a work in progress by some, it seems all too likely that Guardiola will be able to see his side through this final run-in.