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History-chasing Man City eye Premier League title 'destiny'

By AFP

May 19, 2024 07:14 PM


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Pep Guardiola urged Manchester City to seize their chance to make English football history on Sunday as the battle for Premier League supremacy reaches a thrilling climax, with Arsenal hoping for a final-day miracle.

Guardiola's all-conquering team go into the final day of the season with a two-point lead over the second-placed Gunners thanks to an eight-game winning streak.

City host West Ham knowing a win will seal an unprecedented fourth successive English title.

Arsenal have been near flawless themselves in 2024, with 15 wins and one draw, away to City, in 17 league matches.

However, the Gunners' costly 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa last month looks set to be decisive in a thrilling title race that also involved Liverpool until their recent stumbles.

Arsenal, who finished second last year, must beat Everton at the Emirates Stadium and hope City fail to win if they are to end their 20-year wait for the title.

Guardiola does not expect a favour from Everton, who have nothing to play for, and will instead focus on ensuring his players finish the job themselves.

"The destiny is in our hands, but if you are thinking that Everton are going to do something, forget about it. I have seen Arsenal all season," he said.

"We just focus on what we have to do against West Ham. There is not any contamination in my brain about anything other than what we have to do to beat West Ham."

Not for the first time, City have been at their relentless best in the intense heat of the run-in.

Guardiola's men have dropped just six points since mid-December, in draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

As City close in on a sixth title in seven seasons under Guardiola, the competitiveness of the world's most-watched league has been questioned.

But the Catalan coach has hit back at suggestions the Premier League has become boring and that City's dominance is thanks purely to the financial muscle of their Abu Dhabi-based owners.

"It's not boring. It's difficult," Guardiola said.

Arsenal have set a club record by winning 27 Premier League games this season, but that still might not be enough to dethrone City.

"We have to give ourselves the opportunity to live a beautiful day on Sunday, where the dream is still alive and is possible," said Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, whose team have a marginally better goal difference.

"It's football and once we are there we just have to live the moment."

  Man Utd face Euro exile 

 There will be an emotional farewell for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp at the end of his memorable nine-year reign, but the Reds will finish third regardless of their result against Wolves at Anfield.

"I spoke before about how hard it will be to say goodbye," Klopp said.

"I love absolutely everything about this place. I do. I take memories with me, fantastic memories, I take relationships with me forever."

Manchester United are at risk of missing out on European football altogether after a miserable season.

Erik ten Hag's men sit eighth and must better Newcastle's result at Brentford when they visit Brighton to avoid finishing outside the top seven for the first time since 1990.

Roberto De Zerbi is taking charge of his final game as Brighton boss after the Italian and the club "mutually agreed" they would part ways.

Tottenham visit relegated Sheffield United knowing a point is enough to guarantee fifth spot, while in-form Chelsea would secure a top-six finish with a draw against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

The top six teams will all definitely qualify for Europe, while seventh could be enough as long as Manchester United do not shock City in next week's FA Cup final.

At the bottom, Luton are almost certain to join Burnley and Sheffield United in next year's Championship, needing a mathematical miracle to survive.


AFP


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