As the season gradually grinds to a halt, every match day seem to throw more light on where the League title might be heading in Europe’s top five Leagues. Apart from the French Ligue 1 where PSG already secured the League title over a decade ago, there is still much to play for in Spain, a theoretical chance for Borrusia Dortmund in Germany and in England, where everyone is monitoring closely, things might well be sorted tonight.
Leicester City will have to wait
The game between Leicester City and Manchester United at the Old Trafford, more than any other, highlighted how bizarre this season has been and how much decline the red devils have suffered. Who would have thought that a League game between Manchester United and Leicester City at the theater of dreams would see the former chasing a top four finish while the latter would be looking to win the League title.
Leicester City have lost just three games all season, two of them against Arsenal, and when Martial gave Manchester United the lead, many felt that just might increase to four and speaking of four, Manchester United would also close in on the fourth position. However, Danny Simpson restored parity and things remained that way for the remainder of the game.
Both teams will walk away with the point without much regrets. For Leicester City, they know for sure that it’s only a matter of time before they are crowned Champions – tonight possibly if Tottenham Hotspur lose to Chelsea. While Manchester United on the other hand will be thankful Manchester City failed to pick any point against Southampton. The embarrasing defeat City suffered to a Saido Mane inspired Southampton means that after having played a game more than Manchester neighbors, they lead with a surmountable four points.
Rotation worked for everyone else except Manchester City
One of the downside – if not only – of playing in the Champions League especially at the final stages is that you are compelled to give it full priority, regardless how limited the chances of progressing are and how pressing other demands might be as well. Manchester City reiterated this again over the weekend.
Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid and Bayern Munich all rested their key players for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League that would take place later this week. For Real and Atleti, it was a particularly risky move given the fact that a blip from either of them could very well rule them out of the title race. With Barcelona still clinging on to their one point lead – two in the case of Real -, the Madrid clubs are condemned to getting maximum points in their remaining League games if they want to keep their hopes alive.
In the end, they managed to secure a win. Antoine Griezmann’s goal gave Atleti a familiar one nil victory while Gareth Bale, for the second time, came to Real’s rescue in the absence of Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. For Bayern, they couldn’t secure a victory as Monchengladbach’s Andre Hahn canceled out the early lead Thomas Muller gave the Bavarian Giants. Pep will not, however, lose sleep over that. Despite the draw, they still have a five points lead over Dortmund and they only need a positive result in their next game – which is against tenth placed Ingolstadt – to win the Bundesliga for a record fourth consecutive time.
Good news everywhere, eh? Let’s head to England, Manchester precisely. Like the aforementioned three, Pellegrinni also had one eye on the UCL second leg and so, he made eight changes to his squad but unlike them, he was handed a thorough beating. Saido Mane ran a riot and Manchester City’s only positive from the game was Iheanacho’s brace and general impressive display.
The defeat means that Manchester City are now dragged back into the top four race on a weekend they could have gone clear of both Manchester United and West Ham United. Should they fail to get a positive result against Madrid at the Bernabeu on Wednesday, they will rue the defeat even more.
Ikorodu United finally won a football game
The Nigeria Professional Football League has been filled with a number of uncertainties lately but the only consistent thing has been the fact that Ikorodu United can not win anywhere – home, away, anywhere!
That changed this weekend as they ended a run of eleven games without a win. The management of the board heaved a sigh of relief as they came from behind to secure a 3 – 1 victory over Heartland at the Agege stadium. Not that the victory changed much as they are still rooted to the bottom of the table but at least, it showed everyone that they haven’t forgotten completely how to win a game.
In other games, Enugu Rangers lost their hold on the first position as they suffered a 3 – 1 defeat in Port Harcourt to Rivers United and Kano Pillars took full advantage of that as they secured a 1 – 0 victory in Akure to replace Enugu Rangers as the new leaders of the NPFL.
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