‘Really, really rubbish … stand up and be counted’: Liverpool, Arsenal implode to hand City control of title race


With a certain inevitability, Manchester City are suddenly in charge of the Premier League title race.

Arsenal and Liverpool both produced lethargic performances under pressure and lost home matches on Sunday, leaving City — seeking an unprecedented fourth straight English top-flight title — with a two-point lead with just six games remaining.

After Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace for their first league defeat at Anfield in 18 months, Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa in their first Premier League reverse in 2024.

With the three contenders entering this weekend separated by just one point, this season’s title race has been billed as the best in years — and potentially one for the ages.

There might still be twists and turns but many will now already be crowning City as England’s top team. Again.

It was around this time of the year that Arsenal started to implode last season, as a typically fast-finishing City reeled in Mikel Arteta’s team. Has it happened again?

When asked if City were now in charge of the title race, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said: “That’s the reality now.

“It’s been the same for a few months. We knew this moment could come and now it’s about reacting well. If one result is going to (derail us) then we are not strong enough.

“We had a great performance in the first half, it should have been three or four. Second half the momentum shifted. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted.”

Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard is dejected. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Playing between a double-header against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, Arsenal’s players certainly lacked their usual spark as goals by Leon Bailey in the 84th and Ollie Watkins — who grew up supporting Arsenal — earned fourth-place Villa a big win in their own bid for Champions League qualification.

It will have been a satisfying victory for Villa manager Unai Emery, who was fired by Arsenal in 2019 after 18 months in charge as long-time coach Arsene Wenger’s replacement.

Arsenal have the best defence in England, but have conceded four goals at home in the space of five days after a 2-2 draw with Bayern in the Champions League on Tuesday.

A few hours earlier at Anfield, Liverpool — playing three days after losing 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League quarter-finals — failed to respond to going behind to Eberechi Eze’s 14th-minute goal.

Liverpool’s season is falling apart. It wasn’t long ago that the team was on for a quadruple of trophies in Jurgen Klopp’s final season in charge, with the League Cup already secured.

The Premier League title race is INSANE ????

Six matches to play. Advantage Manchester City.

The wrap | https://t.co/AZbnHkYIX3 pic.twitter.com/yevAByxZty

— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) April 14, 2024

Now, the Reds are out of the FA Cup after losing to Manchester United in the quarter-finals last month, are facing elimination in the Europa League, and now the third-favourites in the Premier League.

“This one feels really, really rubbish. I need time to process that,” Jurgen Klopp told Sky Sports.

“Of course you have to ask these questions: what does it mean for the title race and stuff like this. I’m not dumb, I know that.”The answer is pretty easy: if we play like we did in the first half why should we win the league?”

City, who beat Luton 5-1 on Saturday, are on 73 points and have the easier-looking run-in. Arsenal and Liverpool are on 71, with Arsenal ahead on goal difference.

Like Liverpool, West Ham have had a tough few days in the Europa League and Premier League.

After becoming the latest team to succumb to new German champions Bayer Leverkusen with a 2-0 loss in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday, West Ham then lost by the same score to Fulham to hurt their ambitions of getting back in continental competition next season.

David Moyes’ team are eighth, outside the European qualification spots as it stands.

Brazil midfielder Andreas Pereira scored either side of halftime for 12th-placed Fulham.

with AAP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.