… Man Utd, Man City go for each other’s jugular for Champions League spot
BY PAUL EREWUBA
The beauty of the English Premier League (EPL) is that fans literarily sit on edge till the end of the season, even with one final game to draw the curtain to a glorious close.
So it is this time around for two City foes, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Come tomorrow, the Man City Sergio Aguero-led attack will hope to hold off the challenge of Manchester United for fourth place, as the two teams go into the final round of the League season. Manchester City are fourth with 65
points while United are fifth with 63.
Indeed, City could be said to be in control of the situation, knowing victory at Swansea will secure a place in the top four.
A superior goal difference (+30 compared to United’s +12) means that a draw will also see them through. Mathematically, therefore, Manchester United will have to beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford and hope that City loses.
Even sixth-placed West Ham, with 62 points, could yet overtake United and draw level with City. But West Hams’ effort could be in futility as their goal difference (+15) effectively means they have no chance of making the top four.
No doubt, City could still finish as high as third if results go their way.
They have endured a slump in recent weeks and have won just one of their last four Premier League games.
United had won three in four to cut the gap prior to their midweek loss at West Ham. City’s overall away form may be a concern, having won just seven of their
18 on the road. United’s home form is second only to champions Leicester having
won 11 of 18.
Looking at the home and away statistics in more detail, it is clear both sides
fare better at home. City have claimed an average of two points per game at the
Etihad Stadium compared to 1.5 away.
United have taken an average of 2.1 at home and 1.3 away.
United have the best home defensive record in the Premier League, having
conceded just eight times (one goal every 18.9 shots) compared to 26 away. That
may give them hope of shutting Bournemouth out. City’s goalscoring record
away from home is the 15th best in the division. They have scored only 23 on
their travels (10.7 shots for every goal) compared to 47 at home.
After opening their campaign with five successive wins, City have held a
top-four position for virtually the whole season. United took top spot in September
but then fell away. They have been trailing City since November and outside
the top four since December.
Both club managers believe they have what it takes to be in Europe next season.
“I think we deserve to be in the Champions League next year because we have
had 37 games in a spot of Champions League, so I hope we are not going to
lose that spot in the last game. I trust we are going to have our achievement on
Sunday.” – Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
“In the last match of the season we can pass over Manchester City, they can
lose and we can win. Then we are fourth.
I don’t think it is not likely. Against Bournemouth we have to give everything
so that we don’t give Manchester City a free trip into the Champions League.” –
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, concluded.
Source : SunOnline