Sports

May 18, 2024

Man City eye Premier League history as Arsenal dare to dream

Man City eye Premier League history as Arsenal dare to dream

Manchester City stand on the brink of a historic fourth successive Premier League title, but Arsenal lie in wait hoping for a last-gasp slip from the leaders on Sunday.

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

City, who host West Ham knowing a win will seal the title, are hot favourites to set a new standard for dominance in English football.

Arsenal, at home to Everton in their final game, 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.

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, adding that based on spending levels, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal should be matching City.

“They spent as much money in the last five years as us. They should be there. They are not there.”

David Moyes will take charge of West Ham for the final time at the Etihad Stadium.

And the Scot did not offer much encouragement to Arsenal fans when he claimed this week it would be difficult to stop Man City’s “under-14s winning the title” let alone the champions in full flow.

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

Mikel Arteta’s men 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,” Arteta said.

“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.

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 will be relegated if they fail to beat Fulham or if Nottingham Forest avoid defeat at Burnley.

Even if Luton win and Forest lose, the Hatters’ vastly inferior goal difference means they need a mathematical miracle to survive.

Fixtures

Sunday (all 1500GMT)

Arsenal v Everton, Brentford v Newcastle, Brighton v Manchester United, Burnley v Nottingham Forest, Chelsea v Bournemouth, Crystal Palace v Aston Villa, Liverpool v Wolves, Luton v Fulham, Manchester City v West Ham, Sheffield United v Tottenham