This neverending circus of a Premier League season we seem to be enduring continues to throw multiple twists and turns that few of us could’ve seen coming as we head into the final few months of the campaign.
From top to bottom it’s not really clear what is going to happen next, but as the weeks go by, it does seem like there is a clear theme emerging – and a clear contender in the title race.
Manchester City had a shaky start to the season with many believing they would carry over their inconsistency from last season when they were thoroughly beaten to the title by Liverpool.
Alas, it’s the Reds who have been through a tricky run of form this time around, whereas City have strung together 11 consecutive wins in all competitions to leave themselves at the top of the pile.
It really is a testament to the kind of resolve that manager Pep Guardiola has, and while some will simply suggest that this is down to the finances he has at his disposal, we tend to think there’s more to it tha that.
Instead of considering his time at the Etihad a decent success before moving on to something new, Guardiola has decided to stay and fight – both for another Premier League crown and for the chance to guide Manchester City to that all-elusive Champions League title.
The big appeal, and perhaps the big positive, to take from all this is the possibility of Lionel Messi joining City in the summer. It’s no secret that the Argentine sensation isn’t overly pleased with the manner in which he’s been treated at Barcelona for the last year or so with his contract being a topic of great discussion. Now, though, if City can produce a strong end to the season, this move may just be feasible enough to get over the finish line.
From there you have to take a look at the closest contenders who, in our view, are made up of Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester City. United’s loss to Sheffield United showcases their inability to remain consistent even when they’ve got a lot of ‘heart’ in their squad, Liverpool still have defensive issues that shine through at every available opportunity, and Leicester don’t come across as a team who are strong enough to replicate their sensational exploits from the 2015/16 season.
All of that should add up to Manchester City walking their way through to another championship, but we all know it rarely works out that way. Even if they’re put in a position to really thrive and succeed as a result of other clubs messing up, that’s no guarantee of City being able to remain focused on the prize ahead.
The big issue for them is going to be managing the Premier League alongside the FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League, all of which they’re viewed as one of the favourites to win. It’s going to be a tough few months, and we’re fascinated to see how it unfolds.