A ball hasn’t even been kicked in the new season and already some opposing supporters are complaining about the fixture list that was released on Thursday, claiming City have an easier run-in than their rivals towards the end of the season.
City face Liverpool on 4th April at the Etihad, which some are already billing as the ‘title decider,’ but after that match, City’s run-in looks like this:
But Liverpool, who many are saying will once again rival City for the Premier League title, have what is considered a more difficult run-in. After the City match, they face:
Aston Villa (h)
To say City have an easier run in is, in truth, not only disrespectful to the teams involved, but also entirely untrue.
City have won their last three matches at Southampton, but prior to that, they only won on 2 out of 7 visits to the south coast. The blues are unbeaten in the last 15 matches at home to Newcastle and have won the last ten on the bounce in the league. But to think that we will simply win the next will ooze arrogance and complacency, the type that will bite you on the backside when you really don’t need it. Brighton are a team that can spring a surprise, as are Bournemouth, while Vicarage Road is never an easy place to go to. And it will be remembered that, on the final day of the season in 2013, Norwich were the visitors and ran out 3-2 winners.
The thing is, both teams have to play the same number of games, they have to play the same opposition on the same grounds as each other. The title doesn’t just boil down to six matches at the end of the season; it’s what has happened in the other 32 as well. It’s no good winning all six of those games if you’re already 19 points behind the leaders!
And who is to say both clubs will be fighting for the title anyway? To say that the title race will just be fought between City and Liverpool is in itself, disrespectful to the other 18 teams in the League.
But with the introduction of VAR next season, results may very well take a different course. Offside goals, dodgy penalties and fouls leading up to goals should, in theory, be eliminated and both clubs last season rode their luck when it came to referee’s decisions (some more than others though), while decisions that should have gone their way weren’t given. The use of VAR may eliminate both teams from the title race and, you never know, teams like Manchester United may top the league. Okay, maybe we’ve entered a realm of pure comedy there, but with the new system coming into effect, decisions will no longer be given in favour of the top teams.
By May, those fixtures may be relevant, but for very different reasons!