Manchester City managed to disprove the old proverb in the previous season that the title race in the Premier League is a marathon instead of a sprint. Manchester City was so far ahead of other clubs last season that they managed to win by 19 points after accumulating a total of 100 points. It was seen as a progression instead of a gruelling slog to glory. However, things will certainly be different this time around if they reclaim the title.
Manchester City’s Win Over Everton
Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday at Goodison Park managed to take the reigning champions to the top of the table once again. This allowed them to move ahead of Liverpool thanks to goal difference. However, they played one more match than Liverpool and the match against Everton was considered an ugly victory as they didn’t display any flair that usually accompanies the title success from last season. At least none of that will matter when it comes to the final reckoning. The Premier League title race this season will be determined by substance as opposed to style and, at the moment, Manchester City has the edge over all the other clubs.
Even Pep Guardiola hinted after the victory against Everton that the challenges of the title race this year are far more demanding than a year ago. “I’m not 100% sure how far we will get in the Premier League this year, perhaps we will flake out on the road,” stated Guardiola. “However, we will continue to try. Although we played one more match than Liverpool, it’s fantastic to be at the top. However, Liverpool does have a game in hand at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Should they win, we will lose our spot at the top and will need to wait once again.”
Early Signs of Fatigue
Maybe this is the inevitability of a Premier League season following a World Cup that the huge clubs, along with their players, are starting to feel the strain much earlier than usual. Although we are still in midseason in early February, both Liverpool and Manchester City are starting to show signs of fatigue, mentally and physically. Neither of them is performing as good as they did at the start of the season. Liverpool has managed to drop more points in the last six weeks when compared to the points they lost from August through to December. Manchester City is still licking their wounds after the devastating loss against Newcastle in the previous week.
Most opponents are now entering matches against these title chasers and believe they can emerge with 1 point at the very least. That has a huge impact on Liverpool and Manchester City, who needs to work harder than before to secure a win. The title race will be determined by these two clubs, even though Tottenham is only 5 points behind. It will all come down to how each club handles fatigue at the end.