Manchester City finally can get Premier League champagne out of cold storage
League and relegation issues were settled over the past six days as Manchester City clinched a third Premier League title in four seasons under manager Pep Guardiola.
Leicester City, whose league title win in the 2015-16 season was arguably the biggest shock since the Premier League was introduced in 1992-93, decided the title race in Manchester City’s favour with a 2-1 win over a weakened Manchester United side at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Now Leicester, third in the table and with two games left, will be looking to clinch their own piece of silverware for the season when they take on Chelsea in the FA Cup Final on Saturday. They are also in the running for a Champions League spot.
The Cup Final at Wembley will see 21,000 fans allowed in the stands, a welcome boost for supporters who have been denied access to grounds all season because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Each club will be allotted 6,500 tickets for supporters.
Leicester, who have lost four previous Wembley finals, are appearing in an FA Cup Final for the first time.
Chelsea have another final to look forward to, the season-ending Champions League final with Manchester City on May 29. Uefa announced yesterday that the final has been switched from Turkey to Portugal after the British Government placed Turkey on its high-risk “Red List” for international travellers.
Leicester and Chelsea occupy the third and fourth Champions League qualifying spots, on 66 and 64 points with two games remaining. Liverpool kept alive their bid for a top four finish with a thrilling 4-2 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford in last night’s rearranged match. The win moved them ahead of West Ham, four points behind Chelsea and with a game in hand.
Newcastle United v Manchester City
The league in the bag so there isn’t much for City to play for, although they will want to maintain the ten-point lead they held over neighbours Manchester United. The new champions will look to bounce back after last Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Chelsea. This could be a tough match for them against a Newcastle side that is now safe from the recent threat of relegation and full of confidence after a 4-2 away win over Leicester City in their last outing.
Burnley v Leeds United
Burnley secured their place in the top flight with their recent 2-0 win over Fulham while Leeds have long been confident of staying up in their first season back in the top flight. Last season’s Championship winners are tenth in a comfortable mid-table place, which would be considered a good achievement for them, and something to build on. They were outstanding against Tottenham last weekend, winning 3-1 for their first win since beating Manchester City away on April 10.
Southampton v Fulham
Southampton beat Crystal Palace in midweek while Fulham’s relegation was confirmed on Monday when they failed to beat Burnley to keep alive their hopes of climbing out of the bottom three. It proved to be another disappointing campaign for the West London club who lacked the quality to stay up in their first season back in the top flight. However, promotion achieved by Norwich City and Watford will give them hope that they can also bounce back at the first attempt.
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United
Brighton have managed just one win in their past six, but the ten points between them and Fulham with three games remaining means they cannot go down. West Ham have lost three of their last four, a run that has seen their top four hopes fade. They struggled in attack against Everton last week and now trail Chelsea by six points, although with a game in hand as they bid for a Champions League spot.
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace have managed just one win in their past six matches, a 2-0 result away to bottom team Sheffield United last weekend, before returning to losing ways away to Southampton on Tuesday. The teams are separated by two places in the standings, Villa in eleventh on 49 points and Palace eight points back in thirteenth. Villa won the first meeting 3-0 on Boxing Day.
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Tottenham were beaten 3-1 at Leeds last weekend, but will be looking for a better performance at home where their two wins under interim manager Ryan Mason have come. Harry Kane was pegged back in the race for the Golden Boot as Mohamed Salah’s goal that sealed Liverpool’s win at Man United drew him level on 21 with the Spurs captain. Wolves have won three of their past five matches, athough they came against five of the present bottom six. They also suffered a 4-0 loss at home to Burnley in that time.
West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool
West Brom briefly offered a hint of a late revival when they had back-to-back wins against Southampton and Chelsea; however, failure to win any of their past four matches against Arsenal, Wolves, Aston Villa and Leicester City sealed their immediate return to the Championship. Liverpool have been inconsistent this season in the defence of their league title, but in sixth place they still have a slight chance of Champions League qualification.
Everton v Sheffield United
Everton should be too strong at home for the bottom team, but they have gone five matches without a home win. Sheffield United will have nothing to lose, although they have managed only two wins in their past ten games. Despite only one league win at home since the turn of the year, Everton should be too good for the Blades.
• Sponsored by One Communications