So it boils down to this: a Manchester City win over Aston Villa at home on Sunday on the final day of England’s top-flight season ensures Pep Guardiola’s side retain their Premier League crown.
However, a draw or loss for City would allow four-time chasers Liverpool to steal and snatch the title from the defending champions.
Three years ago City propelled Liverpool to the Premier League title by one point and will be favorites again.
Since drawing 2-2 with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on April 10, City have comfortably won their next three home games, scoring 13 goals.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Guardiola’s side also had a week off, while Villa played on Thursday, drawing 1-1 with Burnley. Liverpool were also in action midweek, winning 2-1 at Southampton.
The forms booklet reportedly says Liverpool beat Wolves at Anfield on Sunday. Since losing to Leicester on December 28, Liverpool have gone unbeaten, winning 14 of their last 17 league matches.
If Liverpool manage to win the title, Jürgen Klopp’s side have the chance to secure an unprecedented quadruple by beating Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28 at the Stade de France in Paris.
“We have basically reached ‘the final’ of everything we have competed for,” Klopp said ahead of Sunday’s game against Wolves.
“Two domestic cups, the European Cup – and taking the Premier League campaign to the final round is like reaching a final. To say how proud I am of our team and our club is an understatement.
Ten years ago City nearly ruined a home game in similar circumstances against Queens Park Rangers – until Sergio Aguero made his mark in the 94th minute.
With City trailing 2-1 in the 92nd minute but needing a victory over QPR to claim their first English top-flight title in 44 years, Edin Dzeko equalized.
Then, at 93:20 in the final minute of the game, a composed Aguero smashed his way through QPR’s frantic defense and fired a winner to secure victory and clinch the 2011/12 Premier League.
Aguero’s goal was immortalized in the form of a statue outside the Etihad Stadium, which was unveiled earlier this month.
Sunday’s match at the Etihad has the potential to provide plenty of twists and turns.
Villa’s manager is former Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, who would surely love to help deliver a title to a club he couldn’t win it with as a player.
Villa’s current squad also includes two former Liverpool players – Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings.
“It is more difficult [to win the Premier League]”, Guardiola told the City website. “There are a lot of weeks, games, struggles with injuries and bad times, tough opponents.
“The success is there all the time for the last five years, except the year when Liverpool were unstoppable,” added Guardiola, referring to Klopp’s side which won the Premier League title in the 2019 season. /2020.
“It’s every day, when you fight in the Premier League and you fight to the end, it gives you happiness. You are happiest when you win.
“It’s not a cup, it’s a routine. Doing a routine is the hardest thing in our lives.
After 370 Premier League appearances this season, eight of Sunday’s 10 fixtures have implications for the title, qualification for European competition next season or relegation to the Championship.
Tottenham Hotspur can secure Champions League football by avoiding defeat to already relegated Norwich – and denying rivals Arsenal in the process.
With Norwich City and Watford already relegated, Burnley must match Leeds United’s result to ensure Premier League safety.
But if this season has taught us anything, expect the unexpected from both sides of the table.
According to Opta, this season is the first in the history of the competition where it is mathematically possible for every position to change before the final round of matches.
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