Life at the top is certainly tough! The old adage that it is harder to defend a title than to win it has certainly seemed apt in recent Premier League seasons, with champions often finding themselves struggling to put up a serious defence the year after lifting the trophy. That has not been the case this year, however, with Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions Manchester City sitting on top of the league table with just a handful of games remaining. Liverpool seem to be the only genuine contenders to City’s crown, with the Reds sitting just one point behind the Citizens at the time of writing.It is imperative, therefore, that City’s players continue their excellent run of form as the season begins to wind down.
The club are on a wonderful winning run which has seen them leapfrog Jurgen Klopp’s side in recent weeks, and while Liverpool have faltered ever so slightly in that time with a couple of draws there has been no capitulation at this stage – it is a two horse race for the Premier League title this year. Many predicted City to retain their crown this year, relatively few saw Liverpool seriously challenging and keeping up pace at this stage. Both sides have an abundance of talent at their disposal of course, but City star Raheem Sterling – himself a former Liverpool player – helped the Blues to a 3-1 home win over impressive Watford last weekend to claim this week’s “Player of the Week” award.
He scored all three of the hosts’ goals in that game, consistently threatening the Hornets’ defence with his pace and aggressive running. He is fast becoming one of the best players in the Premier League – even if you did not rank him right up there before this season, he has surely climbed in most of his doubters’ estimations with his scintillating presence wearing City blue throughout this campaign. Admittedly, the first of his three goals came in controversial fashion, with a chest from Sergio Aguero being made while Sterling was in an offside position. Initially the linesman’s flag was raised, but referee Paul Tierney overrode the call and awarded the goal – much to the chagrin of the Watford players.
However, from then-on it was a case of the match being “The Sterling Show”, following assists from Riyad Mahrez and David Silva to leave Watford’s defence shellshocked. All three goals came in the space of 13 second half minutes, and despite Watford throwing strikers Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu on they were unable to mount any sort of serious comeback. Deeney did set up Deulofeu for the visitors’ goal with what was amazingly their first shot of the game, but that was far too little too late. City went on to record their sixth league win on the bounce, with Sterling firing his 16th, 17th and 18th goals of the season – a worthy winner indeed of this week’s “Player of the Week”!
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