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Though there is only one scenario City fans want on Sunday – a victory – there are a number of other possibilities that could see the Blues crowned Premier League champions.
First off, the easy scenario – City beat Brighton and cannot be caught by Liverpool. That’s the only one we really want, but it’s not the only way the Blues could be crowned champions.
If we match Liverpool’s result, City will win the title – so if the Reds win, draw or even lose against Wolves and City’s result is the same, the Blues will win the league by one point.
But, as an old comedian once claimed, there’s more.
A defeat on Sunday wouldn’t end City’s title hopes if Liverpool can only draw – provided there aren’t a couple of extraordinary results.
For the above to work in Liverpool’s favour, City would have to avoid defeat by five goals as the Blues have a goal difference that is +4 better as things stand.
A 4-0 loss to the Seagulls and a Liverpool draw would still see City crowned champions by virtue of more goals scored – unless Liverpool drew 5-5 which would see the title go to Merseyside.
And there is one more, highly unlikely possibility to consider – a Premier League title play-off between City and Liverpool.
For that to happen, only one set of results would see both City and Liverpool end with identical goals scored and goals conceded records, and that is a 4-0 defeat for the Blues and a 4-4 draw at Anfield.
Complicated and unlikely, but useful to know!
Let’s just keep our fingers crossed for a 14th successive Premier League win and keep everything simple…
Pep Guardiola has been saying – pretty much since January – that only by winning all our remaining games would City have a chance of winning the title.
Pep has always claimed the title race would go down to the final day of the season and that Liverpool would win their remaining matches after drawing with Everton in March.
It is perhaps fitting that the Catalan’s prediction has come true as this thrilling title race reaches its conclusion.
In short, we have to assume Liverpool will beat Wolves at Anfield and therefore City must also win.
Of course, it would have been nice to have gone to Brighton knowing a draw would be enough (it still could be), but it would have made little difference to how Pep sent his team out at the Amex – the Blues will go there to win the game and win the title without relying on a shock result on Merseyside.
Thanks to Vincent Kompany’s howitzer against Leicester, our destiny remains in our own hands – and who would want it any other way?
Brighton’s Premier League survival was secured when Cardiff City ran out of games last weekend after a loss to Crystal Palace.
With the defensive shackles somewhat eased against Arsenal last weekend, the Seagulls could and maybe should have left the Emirates with an impressive win.
Chris Hughton’s team were far more attacking than they have been in recent weeks and caused the Gunners a number of problems.
After a difficult campaign, now Hughton must decide if his team will have a go against City or aim to do what they do very well – frustrate and sit deep in numbers.
Brighton’s record against the top six teams is defensively quite solid.
Only Chelsea have beaten them comfortably (3-0) and that was when they were in the middle of an horrendous run of results last April.
The only other top six side to win by more than one goal was City, who won 2-0 at the Etihad at the end of September.
Liverpool only managed to beat Brighton 1-0 home and away, while Spurs won 2-1 and 1-0.
Arsenal were twice held 1-1, while Manchester United lost 3-2 at the Amex and won 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Chelsea also won 2-1 at the Amex, where none of the top six have scored more than two goals and none have won by a margin greater than one goal.
So, Brighton don’t often get steamrollered on their own track (Bournemouth 0-5 notwithstanding) and chances are, Hughton will organise his troops to be resolute and difficult to breakdown.
As so often this season, patience may well be the key.
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