The title race is certain to take more twists and turns before the end of the season but Liverpool were the victors this Saturday without even kicking a ball after Chelsea and Manchester City failed to collect maximum points on their travels.
The Merseysiders could even go top if they beat Tottenham when they visit Anfield tomorrow after Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace thanks to an own goal by John Terry early in the second half.
Although Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho appeared to rule his own club out of the title race following defeat at Selhurst Park today, despite still being top, City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini was being inclusive by refusing to rule out Arsenal by declaring that “four teams” still had a chance to win the league.
City failed to drive home their early advantage on their visit to the Emirates Stadium this evening.
They only had David Silva’s goal to show for their first half dominance against a wounded Arsenal team who had been thrashed by Chelsea 6-0 last weekend and couldn’t hold on for victory in a 2-2 draw against struggling Swansea at home in midweek. Silva once again latched on to a ball that had come off the woodwork to put City ahead after just 18 minutes.
In a very familiar sequence, Yaya Toure fed Edin Dzeko after Lucas Podolski was careless in possession. The Bosnian hit the post and Silva converted the rebound.
There was little early impression to suggest that the Gunners were capable of resisting City. They had seemingly been written out of the title race after failing to win for three game since a hard fought (and some would say lucky) win over Spurs at White Hart Lane on March 16.
It should come as some surprise, then, that Mathieu Flamini – controversially left out of their defeat at Stamford Bridge last week – should pop up with an equaliser early in the second half. Jesus Navas could have put City 2-0 up with his cross coming off Wojciech Szczesny and Per Mertesacker only to go wide.
Podolski, who had been defensively suspect for Arsenal, provided the ammunition for the Frenchman to convert for the equaliser and was then denied by Joe Hart when he perhaps should have punished City further with what could have been a winner to put them back into the title race.
As it was, City had late chances by Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure but they couldn’t make the breakthrough.
Tim Sherwood’s Spurs could yet have a hand in the destination of this season’s Barclays Premier League title if they can stop the Liverpool juggernaut from going top tomorrow.
People may have already written Spurs’ chances of winning at Anfield, after stories about Louis Van Gaal taking the managerial reins off Sherwood in the summer had circulated Premier League news rooms this weekend.
Then again, they didn’t expect Arsenal to get anything against City today either.