• Friday, June 21, 2024

FOOTBALL

Man City eye history as Arsenal aim for upset on final day

Man City, hosting West Ham, need a win to secure the title and set a new standard in English football. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Manchester City are on the verge of a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title, with Arsenal hoping for a slip-up from the leaders on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s team enter the final day of the season with a two-point lead over second-placed Arsenal, backed by an eight-game winning streak.

City, hosting West Ham, need a win to secure the title and set a new standard in English football. Arsenal, playing Everton at home, have been impressive in 2024 with 15 wins and one draw in 17 matches.

However, Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa last month could be decisive in the title race that also saw Liverpool as contenders until recent stumbles.

City have been relentless in the run-in, dropping only six points since mid-December in draws against Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal.

As City aim for a sixth title in seven seasons under Guardiola, questions have been raised about the competitiveness of the Premier League.

Guardiola dismissed claims that the league has become boring and that City’s success is solely due to their financial strength.

“It’s not boring, it’s difficult,” Guardiola said, adding that based on spending levels, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal should be matching City. “They spent as much money in the last five years as us. They should be there. They are not there.”

David Moyes will lead West Ham for the final time at the Etihad Stadium and suggested that even Man City’s “under-14s” would win the title, indicating the challenge Arsenal face.

Arsenal, who finished second last year, need to beat Everton and hope City do not win to claim their first title in 20 years. Mikel Arteta’s team set a club record with 27 Premier League wins this season, which may still not be enough to surpass City.

“We have to give ourselves the opportunity to live a beautiful day on Sunday, where the dream is still alive and is possible,” Arteta said. “It’s football and once we are there we just have to live the moment.”

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will bid farewell after nine years, with the Reds finishing third regardless of their result against Wolves at Anfield.

“I spoke before about how hard it will be to say goodbye,” Klopp said. “I love absolutely everything about this place, I do. I take memories with me, fantastic memories, I take relationships with me forever.”

Manchester United risk missing out on European football after a poor season. Erik ten Hag’s team sit eighth and must better Newcastle’s result at Brentford to avoid finishing outside the top seven for the first time since 1990.

Tottenham visit relegated Sheffield United needing a point to secure fifth spot, while Chelsea can ensure a top-six finish with a draw against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

The top six teams will qualify for Europe, with seventh possibly enough if Manchester United do not upset City in next week’s FA Cup final.

At the bottom, Luton will be relegated if they fail to beat Fulham or if Nottingham Forest avoid defeat at Burnley. Even if Luton win and Forest lose, the Hatters’ goal difference means they need a miracle to survive.

(AFP)

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