Meticulous Man City in cruise control
Updated: May 22, 2021
With less than a quarter remaining of the 2020/21 Premier League season, runaway title leaders Manchester City hold a commanding 14-point buffer over local rivals United, and are eyeing an unprecedented quadruple trophy haul under Pep Guardiola.
Ahead of his fifth season in the City hot-seat, Guardiola already had 8 honours to his name during his exorbitant tenure in the blue half of Manchester – one more than he achieved in his time as Bayern Munich boss between 2013-16. The 50-year-old Spaniard's City cavalry are on a quest for a further quartet of titles and look certain to lift at least two more pieces of silverware come the end of May.
Undoubtedly it will not be easy going for his boys in blue who face Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. The Cityzens also have a FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea at Wembley mid-April, in addition to their EFL Cup Final versus Jose Mourinho's Spurs the following week.
Should City overcome Dortmund they would later meet either Paris Saint-Germain or Guardiola's former team Bayern in the semis.
For the first time in its history, Liverpool lost six successive league matches at Anfield with defeats coming to Burnley, Brighton, Man City, Everton, Chelsea & Fulham.
The Reds' living nightmare that is their extensive injury conundrum has seen Jürgen Klopp field a whopping 20 different pairings in the heart of his team's defence. The lack of spine has ostensibly paid dividends with the defending PL champions cascading to sit 25 points off the pace of champions-elect Man City.
The race for top 4 is well and truly on and there are a couple of outside contenders bidding to qualify for continental football come 2021/22. West Ham are currently in 5th place and trail Chelsea by only two points, however hot on the Hammers' heels are Spurs, Liverpool and Everton whom are all within three points of David Moyes' men.
Meanwhile the race to survive relegation seems all but over for Sheffield Utd who are 14 points away from safety. The Blades have collected a derelict 14 points from 87 on offer, and a great escape from the drop seems far from likely.
West Brom are just four points off the foot of the table and, too, seem to be heading towards Championship football for next season.
Liverpool ace Mo Salah and Spurs star Harry Kane are joint-leaders in the race for the PL Golden Boot having netted 17 apiece; the duo are narrowly ahead of Bruno Fernandes’ 16 goals. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Patrick Bamford have bagged 14 each.
Kane has assisted a further 13 and will be looking over his shoulder at Man City's Belgian playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, who has created 11 goals thus far. Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish has notched 10 assists under his belt, similarly has Man Utd‘s talisman Fernandes.
Man City ‘keeper Ederson has kept more clean sheets (16) than any other PL goalie, two more than Emi Martínez of Villa and Chelsea’s Édouard Mendy.
P W PTS GD
1. Man City 30 22 71 +37
2. Man Utd 29 16 57 +23
3. Leicester 29 17 56 +16
4. Chelsea 29 14 51 +17
17. Newcastle 29 7 28 -20
18. Fulham 30 5 26 -15
19. West Brom 29 3 18 -37
20. Sheff Utd 29 4 14 -34
Man City saw off Everton in their FA Cup quarterfinal clash and will next dual with Chelsea for a spot in the Final; the other semi sees Leicester City tackle Southampton.
The FA Cup Final is on Saturday 15 May and there is a sense of optimism that the spectacle may be contested in front of an undisclosed number of supporters in attendance.
Arsenal and Man Utd are the only remaining British teams in the UEFA Europa League after Tottenham and Glasgow Rangers crashed out in the Round of 16; Leicester were dumped out of the tournament one round prior.
Mikel Arteta's Gunners battle Czech outfit Slavia Prague in the quarters, with United coming up against Spanish side Granada.
In Europe's elite, Champions League holders Bayern Munich eased past Lazio whilst last year’s beaten finalists PSG thumped Barcelona 7-2 on aggregate; the French and German juggernauts meet once again – this time over two legs in the quarterfinals.
Juventus lost out in unbelievable fashion as 10-men Porto advanced to the last 8 on away goals, which subsequently meant that both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo exit the competition at the Round of 16 stage, for the first time since 2005.
In overcoming Atalanta 4-1 on aggregate, Real Madrid qualified for just their first UCL quarterfinal since Ronaldo's departure in 2018. The 13-time European champions next face Liverpool in a repeat of the 2018 Final in Kiev, where Los Blancos emerged 3-0 victors.
QF1 - Man City vs Dortmund
QF2 - Porto vs Chelsea
QF3 - Bayern vs PSG
QF4 - Real Madrid vs Liverpool
SF1 - Winner QF3 vs Winner QF1
SF2 - Winner QF4 vs Winner QF2
The quarterfinals 1st leg take place 6-7 April with the return fixtures one week later; semi-finals are scheduled for 26-27 April & 4-5 May with the Final expected to take place 29 May in Istanbul.
Elsewhere in European domestic leagues, the LaLiga title race is heating up after Atlético Madrid squandered a comfortable lead over Barça and Real.
La Balgrana, who sit four points behind Atlético and two ahead of El Clásico rivals Real, are also due to take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Final on 17 April.
In the Italian Serie A, Inter Milan have opened up a six-point gap at the summit of the log and are seeking their first Scudetto since 2010 under Mourinho.
The Coppa Italia Finale on 19 May will be contested by Atalanta & Juventus who overcame Napoli and Inter, respectively, in the semi-finals.
Bayern Munich are on track to lift their 9th Bundesliga crown in as many years, and occupy top spot by four points over RB Leipzig.
Leipzig and Dortmund are the only remaining heavyweights in the DFB Pokal, of which the semis are in early May.
It is neck and neck in France as PSG and Lille are separated by goal difference atop of Ligue 1. Lyon are three points adrift with Monaco one further back.
Amongst Europe's best, 32-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski tops the scoring charts with his 42 goals across all competitions for Bayern.
Player Goals Appearances Club
🇵🇱R. Lewandowski 42 36 🇩🇪Bayern
🇳🇴E. Haaland 33 31 🇩🇪Dortmund
🇵🇹C. Ronaldo 30 34 🇮🇹Juventus
🇫🇷K. Mbappé 30 36 🇫🇷PSG
🇦🇷L. Messi 29 37 🇪🇸Barcelona
🏴H. Kane 27 40 🏴Spurs
🇧🇪R. Lukaku 25 34 🇮🇹Inter
🇪🇬M. Salah 25 40 🏴Liverpool
🇵🇹B. Fernandes 23 45 🏴Man Utd
🇵🇹A. Silva 22 26 🇩🇪Frankfurt