saw the most significant pair of results this season in regards to the title race, as Manchester City lost
to Arsenal and subsequently dropped to 8 points behind Manchester United with
just six games left to play.
unlikely they'll win the league this season they still have hope, and need to
focus on their next game against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night.
The title horse may
already have bolted but Manchester City have a chance to start closing the
stable door by taking all three points off West Bromwich Albion and attempt to
take the race to the wire. Despite the fact that there are still 18 points up
for grabs and that all important Manchester derby it looks like City have blown
It just doesn't add up
After 32 games
played Manchester City are eight points behind Manchester United and have a
goal difference that is worse to the tune of two (+49 compared to +51). In case
anyone can't be bothered to do the maths on this one Manchester United would
need to lose at least three games from their remaining six and City would have
to win every game for the Citizens to be crowned Premier League champions. While
I think it's possible that City can sort themselves out and collect maximum
points from these last six matches I can't see where Manchester United will
drop points (outside of the Etihad Stadium). Bookmakers seem to agree with me
as they have Manchester United as clear favourites to win the league at 1/20
while City is a poor second at 16/1.
Ifs and buts and maybes…
There are other
permutations that could see City winning the league, for instance if United
lost two and drew two games, and City won all of their games the blue half of
Manchester would take the league by a point, but that hardly seems more
probable. What's more significant is if City go to pieces on Wednesday night in
front of the Baggies and get beaten (available as low as 9/1 on the soccer betting
board) combined with a Manchester United victory over relegation zone Wigan (at
2/5) in their Wednesday night game. City
would then be 11 points behind the leaders with just 15 points left to play
for. Surely a bridge too far.
Why always him?
It speaks volumes
about City’s title chance implosion that the game where they (effectively) lost
it was overshadowed by their most exciting yet disruptive player. Sunday saw
Manchester City go down 1-0 away to Arsenal, leaving them with that eight-point
mountain to climb, but the loudest headlines centred on City’s Mario Balotelli
who had a lively (if unproductive) game. The Italian striker may have escaped
punishment for his tackle on Alex Song and several “enthusiastic” clashes with
Bacary Sagna in the first half, but was eventually sent off for a second
bookable offence late in the game (his fourth dismissal in two seasons with the
club). His actions overshadowed a dispirited City performance, when failure
shouldn’t have been an option.
Scoring off the pitch
hit the headlines recently when a story broke that he had been “spending time”
with one Jenny Thompson; a lady of financially negotiable virtue. While that
was newsworthy in itself the fact that Jen had also warmed the bed of Wayne
Rooney got sportswriters in a lather. Ms Thompson offered a ray of light to
Mario and City in these dark days of title capitulation saying, "Wayne may
be the better footballer, but when it comes to performance off the pitch Mario
beats him in every way."
If City weren't
distracted by the eight-point deficit and the behaviour of Mad Mario I’d
happily throw plenty of cash on them to treat Wednesday's game against West
Bromwich Albion as a milk run. All things considered, the Blues haven't made it
easy for themselves and West Brom will feel that they can cause an upset after
their 3-0 victory over Blackburn, which broke their five-game winless run and
pretty much guarantees their Premier League survival (the bookies have them at
the long odds of 200/1 to go down now). Baggies’ boss Roy Hodgson, speaking
after the win said "I think we can relax to be honest, but hopefully we
don't and keep rewarding our fans with wins and see how high we can finish in
the table." The shortest soccer odds on winning scores for West Bromwich are 28/1
for 1-0 and 33/1 for 2-1. Those scores come behind City winning 4-1 (at 16/1)
and 5-0 (at 22/1) which shows how unlikely such an upset is.
If you want to
get rich at City's expense West Bromwich are 14/1 to win and drive another nail
into the title hopes while a draw, which would be almost as damning, is at just
Fat ladies singing and bells tolling
City have now
recorded just one win, and five points from their last five league games, so surely
they can't not win when they host
West Bromwich Albion. West Bromwich have won six, lost
six and drawn four away from home, scoring 21 goals but conceding 24. Jiggling
those numbers around would suggest a 1-1 draw which is at just 9/1.
I’m backing City
to bounce back after their defeat at Arsenal and give the fans something to
shout about at West Brom's expense, but I don't think that will affect the
ultimate outcome of the league.
Prediction: City win 3-1 at 10/1