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Why Manchester City deserve the title more than 'lucky' Liverpool

Why Manchester City deserve the title more than 'lucky' Liverpool

Goalkeeping howlers and dodgy decisions have kept the Reds in the title hunt.

MANCHESTER CITY have scored nine more goals than their title rivals Liverpool to this point despite playing one game fewer and by every conceivable metric – including that of opinion, the most amorphous of metrics – Pep Guardiola’s men have also played the most beautiful football. This is partly due to having a midfield studded with exquisite ballers rather than athletic powerhouses. This is entirely due to having a coach whose devotion to beautiful football is an obsessive high calling.

There is another key difference between Manchester City and Liverpool as the final straight hones into view. The former have amassed 77 points by largely swimming against the tide with injuries depleting them, long-term and to pivotal components. Officials meanwhile have been distinctly uncharitable as illustrated once again at the weekend with Kevin Friend an enemy throughout.

As for the Reds it could be argued that the very opposite applies, with fortune regularly offering up a helping hand, or more accurately two flapping hands with Hugo Lloris the latest goalkeeper to completely lose his senses and gift Jurgen Klopp’s men the points. It is a bizarre litany of ‘keeping howlers that has led to many prefixing one of the greatest names in sport with ‘lucky’ and when some decidedly questionable pens are thrown into the mix, along with the ever-presence of their most influential figures it’s even prompted usually circumspect journalists to theorize on fate. Their name is on the trophy it seems.  2017: Chelsea. 2018: Manchester City. 2019: Lucky Liverpool.

In short then, City deserve to be crowned this May more than their adversary. They will have earned it the harder way and achieved it the better way. They would be the worthier champions.

Unfortunately reality at its harshest tells us that this doesn’t matter a jot. Indeed, as William Munny said to Bill Daggett before blowing his head clean off in Unforgiven: Deserve has got nothing to do with it.

For history doesn’t care about how something happened, only on chronicling what happened. To make matters worse reputation then follows suit and filters out the positives for the losers and the breaks for the victors and for proof of this we only need look back a couple of years ago to Tottenham’s 2016/17 campaign. Spurs scored one goal more than Chelsea that season and conceded seven less. They are referred to now as ‘bottlers’.

In 2013/14 Liverpool avalanched 101 goals and thrilled; genuinely thrilled. Yet beyond Merseyside all that is remembered of that period is how good Suarez was and the manner in which they fell short. Broadening this out, the World Cup is chock-full of valiant losing semi-finalists, brilliant and inventive, who ‘deserved’ immortality. They’re forgotten now and all we recall is a snapshot of smiling Germans.

It’s cruel, it’s the cruellest in fact that within these finest margins are extremes that expand in time and this brings us to an even harsher reality. If Angus Gunn throws one into his own net at St Marys this Friday evening and then Mo Salah is blown over by a breeze and is given a penalty against Chelsea, and soon after that a Cardiff defender is so bedazzled by Firmino’s teeth in the final minute that he commits a horrendous own goal: if these flukes of fortune happen and they’re enough to secure Liverpool the title then on May 13th the Strand, and Erskine Street and West Derby Road will be a sea of red and they will be absolutely unbearable and not give a single fig about how it came to be. Similarly, the media won’t care less about caveats or asterisks and they will write up this occurrence with a triumphalism that the history books will copy. It won’t be long too before rival fans won’t give a stuff either because they have their own concerns meaning that this summer City supporters could be highlighting their righteousness as a whisper to a hurricane.

If that sounds awfully depressing it needn’t be. In fact, it’s meant as a survival guide to the weeks to come. Because when Tottenham capitulated late on yesterday I switched channels and got on with my day. I expected it, just as I presume that Liverpool will win their remaining six fixtures, which is why I’m not overly analysing who they’re set to face for potential banana skins, driving myself insane in the process.

All I‘m focussed on are City’s seven games, including their one in hand. Win them and Liverpool’s luck becomes an irrelevance. Win them and the summer becomes bearable for all.

With Spurs at home and United away it will be an immensely tough ask but it’s a tough ask for a magnificent creation who is capable of achieving it and much more. In short then, City’s destiny lies in their own hands, not Hugo Lloris’. And while luck can be made it can also be broken. Sometimes deservedly so.

A £10 bet on Sergio Aguero to be PL top scorer returns £23.00






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Stephen Tudor
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