The world is watching. A huge weekend for…
Quite simply, if they want to win their maiden Premier League title, they will probably need to win every game between now and the end of the season.
Their recent record is less than impressive, with defeats to Swansea and Everton. Roberto Mancini won’t need me to tell him that Manchester United won both of those games. With their rivals not playing until Monday night, City have to get back on top of the Premier League, or that may well be that.
Give Fergie and his side an inch, and the gap may as well be a mile.
At one stage last weekend, I actually thought that Kenny Dalglish may be sacked. Whilst it is undoubted that the manager had an advantage due to his hero-like status with the red half of Merseyside, such a reputation is fast wearing thin.
Let’s look at a couple of statistics: Liverpool are now as close to the top four as they are to Blackburn Rovers. They have won two of their last eleven games, losing to three of the bottom four in the process.
If they lose to Newcastle on Sunday, they will be eleven points behind the top six. They have not finished this far off such a position since 1961/62, and I don;t think that they backed their manager with £100million then.
Sunday may just be Dalglish’s biggest game since returning.
Championship promotion race
With Southampton home and dry to all intents and purposes, the race for automatic promotion almost becomes a two-horse race between West Ham and Reading, and these two sides face each other on Saturday at Upton Park.
Whilst West Ham might be assumed favourites, their recent record at home is poor, drawing all of their last five against teams such as Crystal Palace, Doncaster and Watford. Reading, meanwhile, have won ten of their last twelve and 17 of heir last 22 in the League, surging them up from mid table to second place in the division.
With one point separating the two clubs, Saturday’s match should go some way to deciding just who reaches that Promised Land via the most comfortable of routes.
Although Tuesday’s result against Benfica was magnificent, Chelsea will realise that unless they finish in the top four, beating a possible combination of Barcelona and Real Madrid might be their only route back into Europe’s premier club competition.
Probably best to try and make sure in the league then, and the draw last week against Tottenham was disappointing. Given Spurs’ dream run in, Chelsea must beat Villa, who have established themselves as something of a bogey team in recent years.
An improvement of one win in five Premier League games against the Villains is the next step for Roberto Di Matteo in his impressive journey as Chelsea boss.
Failing to beat your fiercest rivals to win the league title in their own back yard will have cause Celtic fans and players significant annoyance, but all can be redeemed if the Hoops better Rangers’ result this weekend (and equalling their result makes it all but mathematically certain).
With Rangers travelling to third placed Motherwell, come Sunday afternoon all could be done and dusted by the end of the first day in April.