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Friday 20 September 2019

Top two face tough games on run-in but Pep's outfit have the focus to reclaim Premier League

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates the midweek derby win over Manchester United
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates the midweek derby win over Manchester United

Complacency is the only thing that can stop Manchester City from becoming Premier League champions again this season. They could get over-confident and feel that they have the job done before it is done. But I can't see that happening, I can't see the three teams that City have left to play preventing them from scoring.

Liverpool will see out the season in hope, more than anything else, while City look confident and as soon as they came away from Old Trafford with a win on Wednesday, they were in control.

They seem to be over the disappointment of the Champions League, they can focus on the league title now and they can put everything they have into winning the league again. In fact the loss in the Champions League is driving City on to go for the treble.

This run that City are on is incredible, if they do get 14 wins in a row that will be an incredible achievement. The midweek derby means that City and Liverpool have played the same number of games so it's a lot clearer what City have to do, with no more games in hand to worry about.

CITY'S RUN-IN

SUNDAY APRIL 28: Burnley (a)

City won't have it all their own way and their next game, Burnley away, is a tricky one. Burnley are a decent side and they put up a fight, especially at home, we could see them cause problems for Chelsea last week.

But with the form that City are in, the mentality that is there, not having to change the team around or worry about the Champions League, I'd back City this weekend, they can just go for it and finish things off.

Burnley are a tough side to play against and they come up with good results, so this is not a nailed-down win for City, but winning the derby has given them the boost they needed and flattened Liverpool a bit, Liverpool had their hopes pinned on City dropping points. Burnley had been fighting relegation for a long spell but they seem to have come good, and finishing higher up in the table means a lot to a club like that in terms of finance, so it should be a tough day, but a winnable game, for City. VERDICT: City win

SATURDAY MAY 4: Leicester (h)

After Burnley, City have Leicester and they are a decent side, they have players who can hurt City and they've had some good results against them over the last few years. Anyone with real pace, like Jamie Vardy, can trouble that City defence and it'd be great for Brendan Rodgers if he could help Liverpool out there but you can't see City losing. VERDICT: City win

SUNDAY MAY 12: Brighton (a)

Their last game is away to Brighton, who could still be fighting for their lives at that stage, and if City do need the win there, and Brighton need a win to stay up, it will be a fascinating day. I watched City against Brighton in the FA Cup and they never got started that day and deserved to lose, and if the pressure is on and City do need the win it's a test of their character but I can't see them not winning all three games. VERDICT: City win

LIVERPOOL'S RUN-IN

TONIGHT: Huddersfield (h)

Liverpool won't have any problems at home to Huddersfield tonight. The relegated Terriers have offered nothing since they changed their manager and they look like a club getting ready for next season.

But it's important for Liverpool that they keep their focus and win that game to at least sustain the pressure, make sure that Liverpool are there to profit if City make any sort of a mistake. VERDICT: Liverpool win

SUNDAY MAY 5: Newcastle (a)

Liverpool have to go to St James' Park and Newcastle United seem to have got their act together, got a decent run together, they need all the prizemoney they can get from a higher finish and I don't believe for one second that Rafa Benitez wants to do them a favour, it's a tricky game for Liverpool but one they can win. VERDICT: Liverpool win

SUNDAY MAY 12: Wolves (h)

Liverpool finish up at home to Wolves and that's a hard game as Wolves are so good against the top clubs, Wolves relish those games and that could be a struggle for Liverpool. VERDICT: Liverpool win

DUNNE'S TITLE VERDICT

It would be an amazing thing for Liverpool to finish the season with 97 points and not win the league but they are just up against a City side who are stronger than them. That's set a standard that Liverpool have to try and raise, but it's City for the title.

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