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The Three Horse Title Race enters the final furlong this weekend



Going into this round of Barclays Premier League fixtures, the top three teams are all firmly in the hunt for the final prize. Following the 2-2 draw for Manchester City on Wednesday to follow on from the hard-fought 3-2 loss at Liverpool at the weekend, the top of the table now has a very different look to it compared to a week ago. Liverpool currently lead Chelsea by 2 points, with Manchester City a further 5 points back but with 1 game in hand. How will the next set of fixtures affect the title race as the season enters the home straight?

Liverpool are still sitting pretty in first position after the crucial win over The Citizens in an emotional afternoon at Anfield. Regardless of what both managers involved have said after the game, the result was a pivotal one and almost certainly bears more significance than any other match this season. The Reds went toe to toe with arguably the best squad in the country and came out on top in the end. The effect on the Liverpool players was clear to see as they engaged without exception in a group hug upon the culmination of the game.

Belief and hope that was growing in magnitude beforehand has now morphed into expectation. Having come through what is widely acknowledged as their toughest remaining test, the pressure is very much on now. Before that match, both Liverpool and City could have won the league should they have won all their remaining fixtures. Now however, that burden is shared between themselves and Chelsea. For Liverpool now, withstanding the expectation from the entire nation poses the biggest threat.

Sandwiched amongst three eminently winnable games is the always tough home fixture against Chelsea that many now see as the match that will determine the final outcome. Liverpool will definitely be without Jordan Henderson’s energy as he sits out the second of a three match suspension, but will hope to have Daniel Sturridge back in the fold. A tweaked hamstring suffered in the defeat of City is not as serious as first feared and re-partnering the SAS against Chelsea will greatly help their chances.

Liverpool always seem to win against Norwich, and further still Luis Suarez adores playing them, having scored 3 hat-tricks in four matches against Sunday’s opponents. I do not see the trend being bucked this weekend despite Norwich’s desperation to escape their current demise. Determination instilled into Liverpool’s minds by Gerrard’s rousing team talk last Sunday will surely give them the motivation to play with the same intensity. I predict a 3-1 victory to Liverpool with Suarez bagging a brace, moving them onto 80 points.

Chelsea have been a vintage Mourinho side this year with Stamford Bridge remaining an impenetrable fortress. This can only be what we all expected, having not lost a home game while manager of Porto, Inter Milan, or Chelsea in both spells in charge. Mind games have been prevalent for weeks as he declared his side out of the title race even when in first position. Even now, they find themselves only 2 points behind the leaders and the match at Anfield to come next weekend. It is absolutely the case that all is not lost and they ground out another win against Swansea on Sunday in typical style.

I foresee a similar game for Chelsea at home to Sunderland tomorrow; a potentially frustrating one for long periods of time but at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will get the job done. Were Sunderland to pull off a huge shock and hold The Blues to a draw even, then it may even be that on-loan Liverpool forward could have a large part to play. The win that I expect to happen would retain Chelsea’s position of 2 points off the top when the weekend’s action is concluded.

One factor that may play a vital role in Chelsea’s trip to Anfield on the following weekend is that it falls directly between the 2 legs of their Champions League semi-final clash. We shall have to wait and see how Mourinho is able to manage his selections through this period and to what extent the players and both mentally and physically drained after their exertions. With the tie likely to still be in the balance after the first leg, José would surely have to prioritise one game over the other. It will be intriguing to see how those seven days play out.

Prior to their trip to Merseyside on Sunday, Manchester City were most people’s favourites for the title. Now though, less than a week on, they have picked up only one point from a possible six and so are lagging behind somewhat. Their manager Manuel Pellegrini blamed the abject performance on Wednesday on being “mentally tired” after the trials and tribulations at Anfield only 3 days earlier.

Under normal circumstances then, a home fixture against West Brom would be the ideal tonic. However, will the home support be less boisterous than usual and become frustrated easily if things are not going their way? This will only harm their team’s chances against a side who are effectively safe from relegation for another year and so will go out playing with freedom.

I can’t see 2 disappointing results in a row for Man City at home and it would be unthinkable for them to only obtain two points from a possible nine. Sergio Aguero will have gained a little extra match sharpness and his presence will provide a serious danger to the Albion back line. I predict that Man City will be out to prove a point at the Etihad on Monday and will win comfortably, with Aguero netting at least once.

If all these results do go as predicted, then that would leave the points separating the sides unchanged. However, it is now the job of the teams below Liverpool to close the gap. Therefore, by maintaining the distance between them and their rivals with one less game left in the season, it would remain advantage Liverpool with their clash against Chelsea fast approaching on the horizon.

I am currently at university studying Mechanical Engineering, but in my spare time I'm into all things football. I'm an avid Liverpool fan but always try to remain impartial. My other interests include gaming and Formula One.


Newcastle United can do better than Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham this summer



Photo: Getty Images.

Rafa Benitez will have been disappointed to have seen his January signing of Islam Slimani end in complete and utter failure with the Leicester City loanee spending more time in the stands than on the pitch and now he is focused on bringing in an improvement to St. James’ Park for 2018/19, but Tammy Abraham is not the answer.

TEAMTalk say that the Spaniard may return to the striker, who was strongly linked with a move to the north-east last summer, according to the Daily Mirror.

On that occasion, the report indicated that a deal could not be agreed to satisfy Chelsea, but having struck a deal for Kenedy since then the relationship between the two parties may be better and make a move for Abraham smoother.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Then, Abraham was hot property having set the Championship alight with Bristol City, but his loan spell at Swansea has been less convincing. Having scored just five goals and registered three assists in 39 appearances for the Swans, Abraham has made only two Premier League starts in 2018 as doubts continue to emerge about his ability at this level.

What is clear is that he is not ready to walk into Newcastle and be the solution that Benitez needs. In part, that is because Abraham would not be an alternative to the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, impressing in the second tier himself now, or Slimani, given that whilst he is tall and physical, his game is about much more than simply being a target man.

The Newcastle boss is clearly looking for a way to add goals to his team, but Abraham, whilst promising, may not be ready for such pressure after a frustrating season in difficult circumstances in south Wales and would be a cheap gamble if Newcastle were to opt for him as their main addition up-front.

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Isaac Christie-Davies joining Liverpool highlights Anfield as the ideal platform for youngsters

Josh Kerr



Isaac Christie-Davies
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool are set to sign Chelsea midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies on a free transfer, according to reports from ESPN.

The 20-year-old talent was not offered a new contract by Chelsea and the Reds swooped in earlier this year to offer him a trial ahead of other interested clubs.

If the move goes through, Christie-Davies will become the second young player, after Dominic Solanke, to join the Reds from Chelsea in just two years.

Davies joined Chelsea’s academy from Brighton and progressed from the youth ranks to the under-23s, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2015 and 2016 as well as the UEFA Youth League in 2016.

The teenager impressed during his trial period at Liverpool with the Merseyside outfit set to offer him a contract.

The youngster will look to his former Chelsea teammate and World Cup Golden Ball winner Solanke for inspiration, who finally showcased his talents in his previous outing at Anfield.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old striker finally notched his first senior goal for the Reds against Brighton on the final day of the Premier League, when the England international rifled a shot just under the bar to break his Reds duck.

The move for Christie-Davies represents yet another promising player trading London for Merseyside, and it could be Liverpool taking advantage of further academy talents.

Christie-Davies is likely to head straight into the Liverpool Under 23 squad as he follows the path of former teammate Solanke to Anfield.

Despite the youngster being unlikely to influence the first team next season it still could prove to be a nice bit of business from the club.

Although it was Chelsea’s decision to let the former Brighton youngster leave Stamford Bridge, Davies will look to the likes of former Blues, Solanke and Rhian Brewster as inspiration that it is still possible to reach the top.

Liverpool’s under 23’s finished 2nd in Premier League 2 this season, and standout players such as Harry Wilson even endured successful loan moves in the Championship, which could be the motivation Davies needs to make the grade at Anfield.

Also, the fact Liverpool quickly gambled on the midfielder reflects the qualities that are evidently present with Christie-Davies. If the youngster makes the most of his new move he could be another former Blue to thrive from a London exit.

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Mauricio Pochettino would be mad to leave Tottenham for Chelsea



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There could be one of the most sensational managerial switches of the Premier League era if Sky Sports are to be believed as they claim that Chelsea are pondering over making a move for Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to replace Antonio Conte after a disastrous attempt at a Premier League title defence.

The Italian’s days are clearly numbered and his departure after the FA Cup final this weekend looks inevitable, but Mauricio Pochettino would be making a serious mistake if he were to take the opportunity to move to Stamford Bridge.

After four years in the dugout, at both White Hart Lane and Wembley Stadium, Pochettino has got his team playing his way. The Argentine has always worked under limited resources, at Espanyol, Southampton and even now at Spurs, and whilst the offer of money to spend at Chelsea may be exciting it would also mean an increased responsibility and a very different challenge.

(during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on May 13, 2018 in London, England.

Tottenham fans and board have complete faith in their coach and are prepared to invest in him to take their club to the next level, something which will come soon with the building of their new stadium, and feel that he is the right man to lead the club in the long-term.

A move to a club with such a short term view in the form of Chelsea would be to sacrifice all that Pochettino has achieved in his spell in north London to date, bringing through young talents like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier who are now beginning to reach their peak and shine under the coach.

With stability at a club on the up, Pochettino would be foolish to be distracted by the bright lights and glamour of a dysfunctional club like Chelsea.

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