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Monday, 16 March 2015

Man City dragged into top 4 battle

Retaining the Premier League title has been the aim for Manchester City since the season began but after Saturday’s loss to Burnley at Turf Moor the Premier League crown looks out of reach and they are now very much embroiled in the top4 battle.

City currently occupy 2nd place on 58 points, 6 behind Chelsea who have a game in hand, realistically the gap will probably be 9 points, maybe just too much of a gap to claw back especially in City’s current form. Behind City both Arsenal and United have managed to creep up on their rivals, Arsenal sit just one point behind the Champions and City’s fierce rivals lie another point back in 4th place. Liverpool, should they beat Swansea, will be a further two points back from United, just four away from the 2nd place they claimed last season.

With only 9 games to go momentum is key, this time last season City were on a run that ultimately led them to lifting the title, this time however they have no momentum and with the three teams behind them in flying form dropping out of the top 4 really is a possibility. Arsenal, despite their European embarrassment, are on a great domestic run. Since losing to Spurs in early February they have won seven games on the bounce. Manchester United have been inconsistent but their 3-0 win over Spurs on Sunday and the performance that went with it will fill the squad with every confidence they can keep on winning. Liverpool are the form team of 2015 and have gathered massive momentum, since losing to Manchester United in December Brendan Rodgers’ side have gone 12 games unbeaten, a run that has propelled them into this top 4 race.

Champions League commitments could also be a big disadvantage for City, their midweek clash with Barcelona will take a lot out of them and should they make it through to the next round, which does seem unlikely, they could be the only of the four challenging for a Champions League place still in Europe with Arsenal looking like their exit is imminent against Monaco. A loss could be be the best thing for City in terms of their domestic form although it could see the end of Manuel Pellegrini’s spell as manager.

Man City must begin to find their form in the near future or missing out on the top 4 will become more and more of a possibility. It is almost unthinkable that Yaya Toure and Aguero could be absent from next years Champions League but as their Manchester rivals found out last year the top 4 is not a given.