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Manchester City aim to recover from Tottenham Hotspur knock-out punch in Premier League

Manchester, PTI | Updated : 19 April 2019, 01:58 PM
Manchester City will be bidding to resume their title push for the Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur, who knocked them out of the UEFA Champions League. (Image credit: Twitter)
Manchester City will be bidding to resume their title push for the Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur, who knocked them out of the UEFA Champions League. (Image credit: Twitter)
HIGHLIGHTS
    • Liverpool have played one game more than Manchester City and they lead by two points.
    • Tottenham Hotspur will be determined to finish in the top four.
    • Tottenham Hotspur denied Manchester City UEFA Champions League glory.

The third act of Manchester City and Tottenham's trilogy has some living up to do after a Champions League classic saw Spurs prevail on away goals to reach the semi-finals. However, their Premier League meeting on Saturday has huge implications for both City's bid to win the title and Spurs' hopes of just qualifying for the Champions League again next season. Pep Guardiola's men are five games away from becoming the first side in a decade to retain the Premier League. However, it is Liverpool who leads by two points as things stand having played a game more than their title rivals.
     
City was on course for an unprecedented quadruple until falling short in the most dramatic fashion in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday. With the sides level at 4-4 on aggregate, Raheem Sterling scored the goal that would have sent City through in stoppage time, only for a VAR review to rule the goal out for offside. "We have to stand up, we have to react," said Guardiola.

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"We fought a lot in the last nine or 10 months for the Premier League. We are still there, it is in our hands. Of course, it is tough, but we have to do it until the end."
     
City's extra resources may have counted for little once more in Europe, but it could prove the difference with such a tight turnaround for both sides. Guardiola could afford the luxury of leaving Fernandinho, Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones on the bench in midweek. By contrast, Tottenham remains without Harry Kane and are now desperately short in midfield after Moussa Sissoko limped off midway through the first half on Wednesday.
     
And should they lose a fifth straight away league game, third-placed Spurs could easily find themselves outside the top four come to the end of the weekend.    
   
Cardiff before Barcelona
     
Such was the drama at the Etihad that Liverpool's serene progress to the Champions League semi-finals with a 4-1 win in Porto went largely unnoticed.
     
Jurgen Klopp's men have now won eight consecutive games in all competitions and do not look likely to crumble under the pressure of delivering a first top-flight title for 29 years should City slip up. A Champions League semi-final with Barcelona awaits, but first, the Reds travel to Cardiff on Sunday.
     
Liverpool has on paper a much more comfortable run-in than City. However, Cardiff has plenty to play for themselves having beaten Brighton in midweek to haul themselves back to within two points of safety. "We play on Sunday against Cardiff -- that's in my mind and will be in my mind 100 percent when I wake up tomorrow and not how we play against Barcelona," said Klopp.
     
"Cardiff is completely back in the race with that result so they will fight for it."
     
Must win for Man Utd
     
In comparison to their Premier League rivals, Manchester United limped out of the Champions League with a whimper as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona on Tuesday to complete a 4-0 aggregate defeat. United now face an uphill task just to make the Champions League next season as they trail Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for two remaining places in the top four.
     
The initial momentum garnered by Solskjaer's appointment on a caretaker basis that landed the Norwegian the job permanently has gone amidst a run of five defeats in seven games.
     
That could get even worse if the rot is not stopped at Everton on Sunday as City and Chelsea visit Old Trafford next week.
     
"It's a big week and we have to get ready for that week because (they are) three big games," admitted Solskjaer.
     
Should Tottenham not shock City once more, Arsenal and Chelsea will be confident of edging ahead of their London rivals.
     
The Gunners can extend their excellent home record at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday, while Chelsea host Burnley on Monday.     
   
Saturday
     
Manchester City v Tottenham, West Ham v Leicester, Wolves v Brighton, Bournemouth v Fulham, Huddersfield v Watford, Newcastle v Southampton
     
Sunday
Everton v Manchester United, Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Cardiff v Liverpool
     
Monday
Chelsea v Burnley

First Published: Friday, April 19, 2019 01:57 PM
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