In the evening of Wednesday, November 29, Manchester City were fortunate to have secured a last breath victory over Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. The match ended 2-1 in favour of the Cityzens to extend their winning streak to over 18 victories in all competitions. A Raheem Sterling 90th minute strike put smiles on the faces of Pep Guardiola and his boys.
Manchester City’s first goal was an own goal by a Southampton player. The situation could have been terrible for Man City if the visitors didn’t put the ball in their own net.
The Blue side of Manchester escaped in their last Premier League match against Huddersfield. It was also a late Raheem Sterling goal that gave them a slim 2-1 win.
Jose Mourinho’s team on the other hand, are showing they are real title contenders. Their last two victories with Paul Pogba playing prominent roles after return from injury, show they can overtake their city rivals.
1. Injury woes to key players
Manchester City cannot afford to have David Sylva, Kevin de Bryune, injured. This will take away the shine from them. These two players are the engine room of the Cityzens. However, Man Utd don’t have any key player, who is not dispensable.
For instance, the Old Trafford club still churned out results when Pogba was injured.
2. Premier League is unpredictable
The English Premier League is the most difficult league in the world. Players who come from Spain, Germany and France, do attest to this fact. Some football pundits might want to argue about this, however, the results and statistics from matches prove this.
It is most common in England to see small clubs beat the top clubs. For instance, Leicester City defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Wednesday, November 29 night.
Going forward, Man City could just slip, thereby losing their leadership grip.
3. Fatigue could set in
Even a horse gets tired after running for long hours. Players do get tired too. If a player like Kevin de Bryune plays week in, week out for Man City, his work rate could drop. This in turn will affect the performance of Guardiola’s boys in general.
The question here is, does the former Bayern Munich manager have suitable replacements for his key players in case fatigue sets in for any one of them?
4. Second half of the season more difficult
The total number of matches played per club every season is 38 games. This means each half of the season is 19 matches.
Currently, almost all the clubs have played 14 games. This means there are five more matches to complete the first half of the season.
Manchester City have 40 points so far, while the Old Trafford Club are trailing by eight points. Therefore, it’s still a very long way to go and anything is possible.
This means Guardiola should always watch his back, as Manchester United manager as well as Chelsea boss in the person of Antonio Conte, are not resting on their oars.
In the game of football, it’s not over until it’s over. Therefore, the title race is still wide open.
Epitome is a graduate with academic background and working experiences in teaching, sciences, public health and online news media. He is a versatile individual. He has a vast knowledge of social and political issues. You can reach him on: 08062412774. Follow him on Twitter: @olahakeemola