It all looked so good for Manchester City and their Premier League title aspirations just a few short months ago. Calculators were in urgent need, not to necessarily count the points but to count the goals as City routinely dismantled whoever happened to share a pitch with them on any given day.
Now, though, you can count on your fingers and toes the deficit to Liverpool at six points behind, with only four games remaining — only three games for Liverpool. It hasn’t quite collapsed for City, but it’s on the brink. This weekend will be the pivotal one for the top three teams in the Premier League, as Liverpool play Chelsea at Anfield, albeit a weakened Chelsea, and City travel away to play Crystal Palace.
City should, in theory, beat Crystal Palace, but it is a dangerous away game to have left to play. Palace have won their last five league games, including a win over Chelsea, and they’re the second most in-form team in the league right now; they will be no pushover — far from it. City have injury issues too, with star playmaker David Silva and winger Jesus Navas both set to miss the game. Yaya Toure could return from his injury but will not be fully fit regardless, and Sergio Aguero is slowly rebuilding fitness after his injury layoff.
What happens at Anfield earlier in the day could well have a profound effect on what then takes place at Selhurst Park a short time later. If Liverpool beat Chelsea then it will almost certainly end City’s hopes, and City may well enter the Crystal Palace game feeling down and like it’s the end. It could cost them more points, and then it really would be over.
A win for Chelsea, though, or even a draw will spur City on. It will give them a boost, and under those circumstances you would expect an encouraged and eager City to then overcome Palace. The result at Anfield will be crucial, and it will undoubtedly have an effect on the mindset of City before their game, one way or the other. Which ever way that happens to be will make or break City’s title bid for this season.