Manchester City ended their week from hell with a brilliant win at Wembley to move within one game of claiming their third Premier League title.
Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan gave the blues a 2-0 lead, and despite a fortunate Christian Eriksen goal, City wrapped up the points when Raheem Sterling lashed home the third to silence the critics, who had been questioning City’s guile this week.
After exiting the Champions League and failing to win the league last weekend against United, City’s match at Wembley was probably the biggest test for them this season. How would they handle the pressure they had put on themselves after three straight defeats? Would they drop points again against an in-form Spurs side who had won their last six Premier League game and unbeaten in the league since City beat them 4-1 in December?
But the blues answered those questions in style and, even though City were fortunate with the penalty, they were deserved winners and now look to West to clinch the league for them. It’s a tall order as West Brom have just one away win in the Premier League all season, however in 1995, City went to Ewood Park to face title-chasing Blackburn. City were fighting relegation and no one gave them a chance against the might of Rovers. However the blues recovered from 1-0 down to win 3-2. It was a vital win for City, who avoided relegation by four points, and a reminder that, just because a team is struggling, it doesn’t mean they can’t beat anyone.
Defeat for United against the Baggies will give City the title, but when asked if he will be watching the United game, manager Pep Guardiola said he will be playing golf instead. “The only score I want to know is bogey or birdie. I think United will win. We depend on us,” said Guardiola. “The important thing is to have the chance to win at home. I am delighted to have the chance to win in front of our people.”
Should United beat West Brom today, Bournemouth will also have the opportunity to give the blues the title when they face United on Wednesday. The Cherries sit ten points above the relegation zone in eleventh place and have won just six games at home this season, with one of those victories coming against Arsenal. However they produced a stunning performance to beat Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in January.
But the blues will have an opportunity to wrap up the league against relegation threatened Swansea next weekend. Whatever happened with United, City have five games to secure the points needed for the title. And by the performance yesterday, they will achieve it in style and break some more records in the process.