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Premier League

History favours Man City as title race goes to wire

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Man City Seek Confidence-boosting Win Over Arsenal -

Arsenal have at least taken the Premier League title race to the final day of the season but the omens are not good for Mikel Arteta’s team if they are to stop Manchester City making history.

City’s nervy 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, their eighth league victory in a row, means they arrive at the final day of the campaign with a two-point lead over Arsenal.

Victory over West Ham United would seal a fourth successive title for Pep Guardiola’s side — an unprecedented feat in English football.

Arsenal, who have barely put a foot wrong since the turn of the year, host Everton needing a win and a huge favour from West Ham if they are to claim their first title for 20 years.

It is a far cry from last season when Arsenal collapsed under City’s relentless charge in the closing weeks and they won the title by five points having wrapped it up well before the finale.

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Arsenal will live in hope, but City are in familiar territory and are masters at closing the deal.

Nine times has the Premier League title race gone to the final day with City involved in the last four, each time being crowned champions. No team starting the final day below first place has won the title.

City beat West Ham 2-0 at home in 2014 to seal the title under Manuel Pellegrini but it has not always been that straightforward. In 2012, they needed Sergio Aguero’s stoppage time goal to claim a 3-2 win over Queen’s Park Rangers and deny Manchester United — a moment etched in English soccer folklore.

Then in 2022 they trailed Aston Villa 2-0 at home on the final day but hit back with three goals in six minutes to make Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers academic.

“By no stretch of the imagination is this won,” Kyle Walker, who was made captain this season after Kevin de Bruyne’s injury problems, told the club’s website.

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“Could there be another twist or turn in? Who knows? Until the final whistle has gone against West Ham, that’s when I will visualise hopefully walking up to get the trophy.

“I’m excited. Obviously, there are nerves, but nerves are good when it comes to these pressure moments.”

DE BRUYNE DOUBT

City will hope De Bruyne recovers from the ankle problem he sustained at Tottenham while goalkeeper Ederson is a doubt after suffering a head injury.

Arsenal will hold out a little more hope as their goal difference is better than City’s, meaning should they beat Everton and City draw, the London side would take the title.

There are other issues to be sorted out on Sunday.

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Aston Villa, who are at Crystal Palace, have sewn up fourth place and qualification for the Champions League but fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur need a point at relegated Sheffield United to be certain of fifth and Europa League football.

Defeat for Tottenham could see fast-finishing Chelsea come fifth if they beat Bournemouth at home.

Sixth-placed Chelsea are three points above Newcastle United who end travel to Brentford and with sixth place potentially good enough for the Europa League, should Manchester City win the FA Cup, there is still plenty to play for in terms of European spots.

Eighth-placed Manchester United could grab a European place via the league if they win at Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle drop points at Brentford.

At the bottom, the relegation places are virtually decided with 18th-placed Luton needing to beat Fulham, hope Nottingham Forest lose to relegated Burnley and overturn a 12-goal deficit in goal difference to retain their place in the top flight.

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-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Premier League

Anthony Martial confirms departure from Manchester United

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Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of June, the Frenchman said on May 27.

The 28-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from AS Monaco in 2015 and has since scored 90 goals in 317 games for the Red Devils.

The departure was expected, as he had struggled with injuries in recent seasons and had not been in the squad for months.

He not in the team for the 2-1 FA Cup final victory against Manchester City on May 25.

“It’s with great emotion that I write to you today to say goodbye. After nine incredible years at the club, the time has come for me to turn a new page in my career,” he said on Instagram.

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“You have been an unwavering support, through the good times and the difficult. Your passion and loyalty have been a constant source of motivation for me.”

French defender Raphael Varane also stated he would leave United earlier in May.

-Reuters

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Thomas Tuchel believes he’s new Man Utd manager

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Former PSG, Chelsea and Bayern Munich manager, Thomas Tuchel who is one of those being touted as possible replacement for sack-threatened Erik ten Hag has spoken out that he believes he will be Manchester United next manager.

According to different sources in Europe, the 50-year old German  reckons he is already nailed on for the job.

Hag who led Manchester United to a dramatic FA Cup win over city rivals, Manchester United on Saturday will officially learn his fate in the coming week.

Reports in Germany claim that theTuchel turned down the chance to remain in charge of Bayern Munich  because he wants another crack at the English Premier League by succeeding Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Bayern announced that Tuchel was leaving the club after it became clear that Bayer Leverkusen would be crowned Bundesliga champions. But the Bavarian club then decided to perform a U-turn by offering to hand him a new contract to stay in charge.

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They were shocked when Tuchel turned down the proposal – and the suggestion in Munich is that he believes United have identified him as the man to replace Ten Hag.

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Premier League breaks new scoring record after last-day goal spree

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Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 19, 2024 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Thirty seven goals hit the back of Premier League nets in Sunday’s finale making it officially the highest-scoring season since the competition started in 1992.

The 380 matches produced 1,246 goals at more than three per game — eclipsing the previous best of 1,222 in the inaugural Premier League season when there were two extra clubs.

Manchester City topped the scoring charts as they won an unprecedented fourth title in succession, their 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Sunday taking their tally to 96.

Runners-up Arsenal managed 91 with Liverpool 86 and Newcastle United their best-ever Premier League haul of 85.

Bottom club Sheffield United concluded the season with a 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, meaning they conceded 104 in the campaign — a Premier League record.

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-Reuters

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