Such has been Manchester City's dominance since Christmas that when they lost at the Etihad to Manchester United it barely made a ripple. Usually this would have been seen as a statement win for United and a cheering of the guard, the tide is changing, Pep is in crisis…. but we literally got nothing. City despite the loss are 11 points clear of the old enemy and closing in for another league title at considerable rate. Not only that, Man City could indeed win the lot. Pep Guardiola's side are in the final of the Carabao Cup, the quarters of the FA Cup and have one foot in the last 8 of the Champions League.
Another club that we have associated success with in the past 24 months has been Liverpool but the club have imploded like nothing we have seen before. True there was Chelsea only a few seasons ago, but this feels different. That Chelsea side did not amass 90 plus points and did not reach the last 2 finals of the Champions League. This Liverpool side had achieved quite extraordinary progression in the past couple of seasons and now mental fatigue seems to have taken its toll. Whilst we can focus on the players we have also to focus on manager Jurgen Klopp. He had a terrible loss of form when Borussia Dortmund won the league and we seem to be witnessing act 2 of that.
Liverpool lost at home to Fulham this past weekend and the club have never lost six consecutive league games at Anfield in their history. Records are being broken in every direction with Klopp in charge, and 2021 continues to be one of the worst years in the clubs history so far. It looks increasingly like they won't qualify for the Champions League next season unless they win the current competition and it has been a stunning set of results that has stopped the club in their tracks. It is a story that will be more dissected one would imagine as the season continues.
Chelsea have looked like champions material since Thomas Tuchel took over the club. Whilst Frank Lampard's sacking did seem a tad harsh the club are getting their money's worth with Tuchel in charge and the players are obviously engaged more with his ideas. The Blues are not conceding goals, the defence looks solid now and they just beat a top 4 rival in Everton rather comfortably, and surely a top four finish for the club looks on the cards now.
Tottenham are another challenger for a top 4 finish and the club have won their last 3 games scoring 9 goals. They have looked back to their brilliant attacking best over the past 10 days and Gareth Bale has played his best football for them scoring 4 goals in those games and looking confident once more. Cynics will point out the quality of teams the London club has played in their recent upturn in form, so let's see how Tottenham finish off their season and if they can also beat teams in the top half of the league when it really matters.
The race for survival is reaching boiling point and Fulham to their credit have been solid since the turn of the year, they have decreased the gap to 17th by goal difference now and Brighton and Newcastle could well get sucked into the fight. Even Burnley in 15th are only 4 points clear of 18th will have one eye over their shoulder, what a finish to the season this promises to be.
Premier League team of the weekend: Areola, Doherty, Shaw, Aina, Dawson, Fernandes, Bale, Mount, Ward-Prowse, Kane, Iheanacho