This season it has changed hands 28 times–matching the last time a title race was so close in 2001-02.
Manchester City regained their one-point lead over Liverpool with a routine and never-in-doubt 2-0 victory at Old Trafford but the Reds can reclaim it when they host already-relegated Huddersfield in the first match of the weekend.
The gulf in the two Manchester clubs was frightening for those of a red persuasion- like the difference in class between Brienne of Tarth and Littlefinger.
Symbolically United’s stadium sprung a leak in its fading old facade and the club’s defence did likewise. The wheels have well and truly come off Ole Gunner Solksjaer’s bus and fans are no longer gleefully singing that their idol is at the wheel.
They were humbled 4-0 at Everton at the weekend – a scoreline that flattered the ‘rancid’ Red Devils – Gary Neville’s description not mine.
Fans are screaming that many of their stars are overrated, overpaid and money hungry; pundits are questioning both desire and ability and rivals are lapping it up and laughing as this once great club.
After passionate words from Paul Pogba and Ole Gunner Solksjaer that promised a reaction after their Goodison mauling the hosts put in a half decent first half but were grateful to City’s wasteful finishing.
Pep Guardiola’s men looked like adults tasked with looking after unruly toddlers. In the second half they simply let them run out of steam then used their maturity and expertise to firmly put them in their place. It was like Prince Oberyn being crushed at the hands of The Mountain.
Bernado Silva made a dummy out of Luke Shaw before beating David De Gea at his near post, while the Spanish keeper was even more at fault for No 2 as he let Leroy Sane’s shot in off his shin.
It is now seven defeats in nine; no goals from open play in nearly five hours of play; 12 games without a clean sheet; their only world-class player in David De Gea suffering a bad case of Mignoletitis and the glaring realisation millions and millions of pounds are being wasted on mercenaries and mediocrity.
As a team they were wetter than a weekend at Waterworld in rainy season. Jesse Lingard missed an open goal; Fred doesn’t seem to have his legs connected to his brain, Romelu Lukaku’s first touch was horrendous and Paul Pogba went missing – like Sir Jaimie’s hand.
One moment summed up 6ft 2in Pogba’s evening – when he was out-jumped by 5ft 6in Raheem Sterling. It is hard to fathom how the midfielder is attracting interest from Real Madrid and Juventus when his form is more suited to Segunda Division B side Real Union or Japan’s J-League.
Meanwhile, all the world’s most expensive sub Alexis Sanchez has done at United is grow a dodgy tache. Against City he touched the ball ONCE in the 12 minutes he was on the pitch.
The richest club in world football are slowly seeing their life blood sucked out by the parasitic Glazer family who put dollar signs ahead of warning signs. And while they remain in charge it is only going to get worse so strap in United fans as you’re entering what Liverpool fans still recoil in horror at . . . The Souness Years.
LUCKY lucky Liverpool is a term often thrown like a barbed arrow towards Anfield by opposing fans.
But if Lady Luck has shined on the Reds her whole crew has been sending beams of dazzling white light down on Manchester City.
Now I accept Pep Guardiola has built a great side (at huge expense) and you can only play who is put in front of you blah blah blah . . .
But so far, they’ve won the League Cup by beating the mighty Oxford, Fulham and Burton (in the semi-final!!) as well as scraping past Leicester and Chelsea both on penalties.
Then you’ve got the upcoming FA Cup final against Watford (FFS), having played Rotherham, Burnley, Newport, Swansea and Brighton needing huge doses of VAR fortune in the latter two.
Two domestic gifts so surely the Champions League will have offered them something resembling a challenge? Erm well in the knockouts they faced Germany’s 14th best team Schalke, having got through a group of Hoffenheim, Shakhtar and Lyon. Then they contrived to crash out to an injury-ravaged Tottenham team.
I detest and admire City in equal measure – I love the way the play but hate the billionaire bigots who finance this monster.
In the Premier League when two supreme teams are battling it out tiny margins make all the difference. Both teams got maximum points off Spurs but a look at fixtures against other top sides shows timing is everything.
Liverpool played United when everything was sweet; Ole Gunner Solksjaer was the second coming of Sir Alex Ferguson in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten Premier League run. City faced a team in disarray with four out of six league losses having also just been dumped out the Champions League and FA Cup.
Away at Chelsea the Reds faced a team on a nine-match unbeaten run, Guardiola’s men lost at Stamford Bridge and then hosted them in full meltdown mode.
City played Arsenal in just the second game of the season when the Gunners were getting used to their new manager – the Kop lot faced them when they had not lost in a 13-match run.
This is Liverpool’s highest-ever points tally (88) and they could feasibly end the season on 97 points, having lost just one match and STILL be second. That is how good this City side have been.
Only one team has ever amassed more than 97 points – City last season. The Reds still have three games to go but in 15 of the previous 26 seasons they would have already had enough points to claim the trophy.
Guardiola’s slick machine means none of Burnley, Leicester or Brighton are expected to pose problems as they close in retaining their title but football is a funny old game and we all know to expect the unexpected.
AND finally players often smirk at journalists and fans and say their reading of the game and thoughts on football are not as valid as theirs because they have never played the game at the highest level.
Well they have shot themselves in the collective foot this season by putting Paul Pogba in the PFA Team of the Year!
Fans of the Frenchman point to his goals tally but seven of his 13 strikes have been from the penalty spot against Leicester, Brighton (2), Burnley, Fulham, West Ham (2). From open play he has put the mighty Everton, Huddersfield (2), Bournemouth (2) and Fulham to the sword (slow hand clap!).
But to be fair they got most of the other selections right, including naming Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk as their Player of the Year.
Although in this technological age these things should wait until after the season. Raheem Sterling could be instrumental in winning Manchester City the Treble and Van Dijk could end the season potless. Mo Salah could be the Premier League top scorer and win the Champions League and not even make the team.
It makes as much sense as putting the women and children in the crypts of Winterfell as the Night King approaches with his army of White Walkers. Why is that you say? Well what do crypts hold and what are White Walkers . . . yep dead people. Eeeeek!!
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