So there we have it. What we fully expected finally happened in the most anti-climactic way possible. Manchester City finally won the 2017-18 Premier League after Manchester United failed to beat West Brom on Sunday.
City did their part, of course, dismantling a Tottenham side that had a golden opportunity to leap-frog Liverpool to 3rd place in the league.
Spurs, going in to the game on a hot streak at home, were relishing the role of the party pooper, potentially delaying City’s celebrations for yet another week, but Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling all found the net in City’s 3-1 win that snapped Tottenham’s home unbeaten run at 14 games.
Of course, celebrations were muted following the victory, with their cross-town neighbors United gearing up for quite a routine win the following day against bottom of the league West Brom. But, as we’ve seen time and time again this season from Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, they underperformed and were beaten 1-0, despite boasting more than 70% of possession throughout.
Sometimes it’s hard to write a script for a Premier League season, but if one was to write it from Manchester United’s
perspective, this is exactly how their biggest local rivals would have beaten them to the title.
Talk, rightfully so, has been more about how bad United were against West Brom than how good City were against Tottenham, but credit must be given where it’s due, especially with City coming off the back of three defeats in a row in all competitions.
Sitting on 87 points in the league, City need to win three of their last five games to beat Chelsea’s all time high points total of 95, a feat they might eclipse considering all five of those games come against bottom half opposition. Winning all five puts them above 100 points, a total unlikely to be beat in a long time.
One thing is for sure, sitting 13, 17 and 19 points behind Manchester City respectively, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham have to spend wisely and heavily in the summer if they’re going to catch up next season.
Obviously, City won’t sit idly by and watch their Premier League rivals snap up all the best players on the market, as they have some flaws too.
The center back position has plagued them for far too long, and a replacement for Vincent Kompany will be drastically needed soon. Rounding off the defense with a consistently fit left back would make their back line almost air tight next season, meaning the other clubs would have to improve to break them down.
Manchester United have a desperate need for stability in midfield, and must tie down the contracts of Anthony Martial and David De Gea if they want to be considered a contender. Ander Herrera, while passionate, unfortunately doesn’t have all the necessary skills to play close to 38 games a season like some other central midfielders on the market. The center back position has plagued United since Alex Ferguson left, and a replacement for Chris Smalling and injury prone Phil Jones may be needed to stop leaking goals like the one they conceded against West Brom.
Liverpool have a problem if Mo Salah inevitably draws attention from abroad, along with Roberto Firmino, who have both have
excellent seasons for the Reds, who already have gaps to fill without those two leaving.
Tottenham have the biggest problems of all four clubs in trying to catch City up. The first season in a new stadium is never easy regardless of who you have at your disposal, but with Harry Kane undoubtedly drawing interest from elsewhere, along with Toby Alderweireld and Dele Ali, they may struggle to keep up with the rest of the Premier League, who’s spending habits and wage structures are much more relaxed than that of Daniel Levy.
The top four fight, of course, is far from over, and United, Liverpool and Tottenham have four games to solidify their positions, their prize money and their seed in the Champions League group stage next season.
United were able to put their 1-0 loss to West Brom behind them and win their game in hand against Bournemouth on
Wednesday, putting them four points ahead of Liverpool, who sit on 70, two ahead of Tottenham in fourth.
Liverpool probably have the toughest run in, still in the Champions League and having to face Chelsea away, with Tottenham facing mostly bottom half sides in their run in to the season ender with Leicester.
United still have to play Arsenal, as well as West Ham away, but close against Watford at home on the final day of the season, so the pressure is well and truly on Liverpool to keep kicking at the heels of United, who could clinch second against Brighton on May 4th depending on results elsewhere.
Congratulations to Manchester City on winning the 2017-18 Premier League title, and hopefully next year we’ll see a bit more of a contest!
See you next week!
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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