PELLEGRINI “EXPECTS” MAN CITY TO WIN THE LEAGUE
City's convincing 4-0 win over Villa will prove decisive in the Premier League title race as Manuel Pellegrini’s men moved two points clear of Liverpool ahead of Sunday's final match of the season against West Ham.
Tension was evident as City failed to break through resilient Villa in the opening hour but an Edin Dzeko double changed the mood. Late goals from Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure then transformed the atmosphere from relief to celebration and City effectively now need only a draw against the Hammers to win a second title in three seasons.
Pellegrini, in common with his chief rivals, has consistently spurned the favourites' tag for most of the season, but there is now no hiding from it.
Pellegrini said: "Now we can talk about the title because if we win the next game we are going to win the title. We could not do the same before this game because we had to beat Aston Villa.
"Of course I expect to win the title because now we are top of the table. It has been a strange season maybe because we were never top of the table.
"Everyone said we were favourites but we were nine points behind Liverpool and eight points behind Chelsea.
"We had three games in hand but we must win all those games. Now we are top of the table and I hope we are not going to lose next Sunday."
City took control of the title race when Liverpool’s arch rivals Everton failed to do Brendan Rodgers’ side a huge favour last week, and the Citizens placed one hand on the trophy as the Anfield club blew a three-goal lead to draw with Crystal Palace on Monday. Liverpool’s only hope of winning the league then hinged on either Villa or West Ham securing an incredibly unlikely victory over City. Unsurprisingly, Villa, who failed to send a single shot on target at the Etihad, weren’t able to produce anything like the performance required to shock City. West Ham will more than likely endure the same fate as Villa and the title will be City’s for a second time in three seasons.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Liverpool face Newcastle United at Anfield whilst City travel to Upton Park on what will be a far less dramatic final day than it should have been. Liverpool will undoubtedly put the Magpies to the sword, but it won’t matter one bit. City WILL beat West Ham, and as much as Liverpool supporters dream of a last minute Andy Carroll winner in East London, it’s just not going to happen.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAY
Daniel Taylor (The Guardian): For Manchester City everything is now in place. Manuel Pellegrini's team took their time before showing why they are champions-in-waiting, but once they shed their inhibitions they quickly rattled off the goals that took them to 100 for the season and made the arithmetic simple. Anything but a defeat in their final game and City will have sealed their second title in three seasons.
Henry Winter (The Daily Telegraph): They can almost reach out and touch it now. They can envisage the blue ribbons being tied, the dignitaries gathering and fireworks being lit. Manchester City are closing in on the Premier League trophy and their utter confidence was reflected in Yaya Toure’s storming breakaway late on that brought City’s 100th goal of the season and mirrored the team’s own unflinching run towards the finishing line. They just need a point. A draw against West Ham United on Sunday brings the title. Unlike others, City will not slip now.
WHAT THE FANS SAY
@MCFC did the job yesterday with an emphatic 2nd HF display especially the fourth goal from the heartbeat of the team Yaya Toure congrats
Man city on verge of clinching title after a convincing win against Aston Villa.A draw in their next game is all but a guarantee.
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