Connect with us

Sports

Manchester City have unassailable lead in Premier League title race, says Jamie Carragher | Football News

Published

on

Jamie Carragher believes Manchester City cannot be caught in the Premier League title race after Chelsea and Liverpool’s 2-2 draw ensured the champions took a 10-point lead into 2022.

Sunday’s meeting at Stamford Bridge presented Chelsea and Liverpool with the chance to emerge as chief challengers to City’s crown, but neither seized the opportunity as a thrilling 2-2 draw only strengthened the champions’ title defence.

Asked if he thought Manchester City could be caught, Carragher told Sky Sports: “No, I think Manchester City will win the league, I don’t see Liverpool or Chelsea cutting that gap.

“If Liverpool had won [at Chelsea] and got the extra two points, and if they won their game in hand against Leeds, as you would expect them to do, then the gap to City would be six points, which would be very tough.

“Once it goes more than that, and you need three games to catch up on Manchester City, I just don’t see it at all.

“Liverpool have been good going forward this season, Chelsea have been good defensively, but Manchester City are as good as both of them in those areas, and in terms of controlling games. That’s the big difference.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s draw against Liverpool in the Premier League

Carragher continued: “How often did Sir Alex Ferguson talk about being within five or six points of the leader on January 1, then Manchester United would be in with a chance for the title? I just feel that has changed now.

“It almost feels like the run-in as soon as the international breaks are over in November. When Liverpool dropped two points at Tottenham, that shouldn’t have been a bad result, but now it feels like such a big thing because Manchester City now are getting 90, 100 points.

“Teams cannot afford to draw games, even against big rivals away from home, whereas they could in the past.”

Carra: Why Liverpool won’t win the title

When pressed on Liverpool’s title credentials, Carragher highlighted his former club’s susceptibility to throwing away a lead, as occurred at Chelsea, where they surrendered a two-goal lead before half-time.

“When you’re 2-0 up against one of your big rivals, you’ve got to be disappointed. I think Liverpool in the end will actually be pleased with a point, and you could see that in the changes they made in the second half in bringing off [Sadio] Mane and [Diogo] Jota.

“But that’s why Liverpool won’t win the league this season. Liverpool have taken the lead 17 times this season and so have Manchester City, but City have won each game. Liverpool have only won 12.

“What Liverpool are lacking now that they had in the title-winning season is control of a football game. What we’re watching here today and what we watched at Tottenham [a 2-2 draw] was Jurgen Klopp in years one and two. These end-to-end games where we’ll sit back and say, ‘that’s the game of the season’.

“That was the best game I’ve seen this season, but in terms of Liverpool winning the title, that’s what’s going to cost them. Five times now, they’ve taken the lead this season and they’ve not won the game. That’s the difference between Liverpool and Man City right now.”

Van Dijk: Man City’s title to lose

Virgil van Dijk says he will never stop believing Liverpool can win the title, but conceded that it may be Manchester City’s title to lose after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

“For the outside world, it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them.

“They have an amazing team, so have we. I have a feeling we were under pressure at times but defended well as a team, didn’t give big chances away. I always had a feeling we could score for 3-2 but it didn’t happen.”

Van Dijk added: “It’s never difficult to believe. It’s a big gap, they [Manchester City] maybe have the title to lose, but a lot can happen still.

“We have been there before, where we have had a gap in front and we gave it away, so everything is possible.

“We will focus on ourselves, Chelsea will focus on themselves, and we just have to get results, play good football and win games. It sounds pretty easy, but it tough, as we saw today.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for his Chelsea team as they drew 2-2 against Liverpool but felt that Sadio Mane should have seen red in the first few seconds of the match after a challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta

Souness: City the strongest side in English history

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness stressed Liverpool and Chelsea could not be ruled out of the Premier League title race given the stage of the season but questioned whether they had the quality to combat Manchester City.

“Can I remind you it is the second of January. It’s definitely not over, you can never say that in football, but you’re talking about Chelsea and Liverpool needing to win nearly all of their games.

“Manchester City have the strongest group of players ever in the history of English football. If some players get injured or go in a downward spiral in terms of form, they can chop it and change it. That is a tremendous strength.

“They can also be semi-relaxed about these games and if they were to drop a couple of points to someone, whereas Chelsea and Liverpool are playing under a different kind of pressure.”

Lijnders: We’ll focus on ourselves

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders reflects on their intense 2-2 draw at Chelsea after which he was disappointed to throw away a two-goal lead

Meanwhile, Pep Lijnders, who led the Liverpool team at Chelsea in the absence of Klopp, insists his side’s focus must remain on themselves.

“We never look at others, a title race is only decided on the last matchday. There are so many points to collect,” he said.

“We have this difficult situation; you never know if the opposition may get difficult situations. We have to focus on ourselves, that is how we’ve always done it, and how we got in the position where we are, and how our team developed.

“We only focus on the next game, make that a final, and give everything we have. That is how we became champions and won the Champions League, this is what we have to keep doing, keep this fighting spirit up, and play a little bit better.”

What’s next?


Live EFL Cup


Wednesday 5th January 7:00pm


Chelsea host Tottenham on Wednesday at 7.45pm before Liverpool travel to Arsenal on Thursday at 7.45pm in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup – both live on Sky Sports Football.


Live EFL Cup


Thursday 6th January 7:00pm




Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sports

Chelsea and Liverpool prove Premier League excitement, even if title is a foregone conclusion

Published

on

LONDON — Manchester City have shown themselves to be in a league of their own, so the Premier League should be thankful that Chelsea and Liverpool are still able to keep us all entertained. Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge helped neither team and only consolidated City’s vice-like grip on the top spot, but football is about jeopardy, risk and overcoming flaws, and when it all comes together, you get an unforgettable game like this one.

Even before City moved 11 points clear at the top of table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this second-versus-third clash was always a case of both sides needing to win to maintain faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. City’s win at the Emirates was their 11th successive Premier League victory and they have all been won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven, that every three points is now met with little more than a shrug of inevitability.

Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win a fourth league title in five years and you will struggle to count on the fingers of one hand the times they have had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome adversity during that period. Guardiola has built one of the all-time great teams in English football history during his six years at the Etihad, but they may simply be too good to contribute to games like this one.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access

Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a pulsating encounter because they both have weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. And as a result, they both had to take risks in an attempt to secure a crucial victory.

And they also had to go into the game with unwanted distractions hovering over both clubs.

Chelsea, with three wins from their past eight in the league, were without £97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku, dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because of an outspoken interview about his failure to impress so far at Stamford Bridge since returning to the club from Internazionale in the summer. And Liverpool were without manager Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeper Alisson, defender Joel Matip and forward Roberto Firmino — all isolating because of COVID-19.

City, in contrast, have enjoyed a remarkably serene run of successes since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they are free-rolling to another title. But the Premier League is regarded as the most exciting in world football because of games like this, and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create.

From the first minute, when Sadio Mane was fortunate to escape a red card for appearing to strike Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was incident-packed. Azpilicueta later said it was a “clear red card” when interviewed after the game.

Christian Pulisic, playing centrally in the absence of Lukaku, wasted a golden chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when, with only stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he was indecisive and allowed the youngster to smother the ball. It proved a costly miss when, two minutes later, Mane took advantage of his lucky escape from a sending off by pouncing on a mistake by Trevoh Chalobah to score.

Chelsea were in disarray and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. When Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 on 26 minutes with a stunning near-post finish after gliding past Marcos Alonso, it seemed as though Liverpool were about to give Chelsea the kind of hammering they inflicted on Manchester United during a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Liverpool were unable to score a third, though, and two Chelsea goals in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game on its head.

When Kelleher punched Alonso’s in-swinging free kick clear on 42 minutes, the keeper looked to have done well to deny the Chelsea defender. But the ball dropped the Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the penalty area and, as he was backpedaling, the midfielder somehow guided a volley beyond Kelleher and into the net. It was a spectacular display of technique by the former Real Madrid player and it gave Chelsea a foothold back into the game.

And it took them just three minutes to score the equaliser when Pulisic atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto N’Golo Kante‘s pass before beating Kelleher with a precise left-foot shot past the Republic of Ireland international. As the chaos continued on the pitch, Mason Mount almost put Chelsea 3-2 up in first-half stoppage time with a scuffed volley that bounced just wide of the post.

When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because of coaches plugging the holes that had led to the earlier excitement. But while the goals stopped flowing, the entertainment didn’t.

Salah forced a crucial save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard lob on 57 minutes and Mane was also denied by the Chelsea keeper. Kelleher, not to be outdone, then produced a stunning save to prevent Pulisic from scoring his second of the game.

In total, there were 25 chances over the 90 minutes, with both sides registering six on target. Neither could find a winner, though.

“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said.

Even if one team had done enough to claim all three points, it’s difficult to imagine they would have been able to close the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge facing both chasing clubs only grows more daunting in the next month, with Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) now heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But the Premier League still knows how to excite, even if the title is already a foregone conclusion.

Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Michael Scudamore has Do Your Job in mind for Doncaster | Racing News

Published

on

Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase could be next on the agenda for Do Your Job following his creditable effort in defeat at Kempton over the festive period.

Runner-up to My Drogo and Belfast Banter in Grade Two and Grade One novice hurdles in the spring, Michael Scudamore’s stable star made a successful start to his chasing career at Warwick in November.

The eight-year-old fell at the eighth fence when stepped up in class for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, but bounced back to finish second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad last week.

With Scudamore keen to avoid a rematch with the winner, who is seemingly bound for the Kingmaker at Warwick, Do Your Job could instead bid for Grade Two honours at Doncaster on January 29.

Reflecting on his Kempton performance, the trainer said: “I was very pleased. He jumped well and travelled well and did everything right, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.

“The main objective was a clear round really and maybe if we hadn’t fallen at Sandown we might have pressed on a bit more and made it more of a staying race.

“The most important thing was to get a clear round under his belt and get some more experience over fences for him.

“I think we’ll stick to novice races while we can and we might look to the race at Doncaster. That is what we have pencilled in at the moment, anyway.

“It would certainly be Plan A to try and avoid Edwardstone and I was very pleased to read he was going to go for the Kingmaker. Hopefully they stick to that plan!”

While Do Your Job looks set to remain in novice company on his next start, Scudamore admitted is considering a step into the handicap arena for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham – a race he won with Next Sensation in 2015.

He added: “I’m sure he’ll have an entry in that. He also ran very well at Aintree last year, so there’s that to consider as well.

“He looks like a horse that could have the right sort of profile for a Grand Annual and we’ll see nearer the time.

“In some ways it might make more sense to go for a handicap now, but as we saw at Kempton some of these novice events don’t have a lot of runners in them and there’s some decent prize-money on offer, so it seems silly to pass them over when you’ve only got one chance to run in them really.”



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Adiwang hopes to fight Saruta next

Published

on

Lito Adiwang was booted out of ONE Championship strawweight rankings after coming up short against Jarred Brooks. ‘The Thunder Kid’ is already itching to step back inside the cage and hopes to fight a ranked fighter next.

Of the fighters in the ONE Championship strawweight division rankings, the 28-year-old Filipino seeks to score a date with No.2-ranked Yosuke Saruta.

“I want a big comeback. I still want a big name. I want to challenge Yosuke Saruta. Maybe if ONE allows it, and he wants it, then I’ll take it. Saruta is someone who I really want to test myself against,” said Adiwang in an interview with ONE Championship.

The 28-year-old admits it is a dangerous fight and a huge risk to take. The high-risk, high-reward scenario is something that Adiwang would like to take as he seeks to put his name back in the rankings again by beating a former champion.

“It’s a big risk for me because I’m coming off a loss, but I want a great comeback and a big name in my return so I don’t fall far off from the rankings.”


Lito Adiwang seeking for a better year in 2022 at ONE Championship

Adiwang now holds a professional record of 13-4 and has been competing in ONE Championship since October 2018. He won his first five fights before receiving his first loss against Koha Minowa via a split decision two years later.

The Benguet-based fighter had three fights in 2021. However, he also suffered his second loss in ONE Championship against Jarred Brooks.

Still in his prime, Adiwang goes back to the drawing board and seeks to polish his MMA skills in 2022.

“I have to check my mistakes inside the Circle, but I also have to check my mistakes outside the Circle. It has to be a balance. Sometimes, I forget other personal obligations and those are the things that I have to work on. I have to balance things out based on last year. I have to correct this in 2022.”




Source link

Continue Reading

Trending