There is still a third of the Premier League season to complete, but this morning’s media is awash with predictions and opinions on the title race.
Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with West Ham means just five points separate the top three as the 2018/19 campaign shapes up to be one of the most intriguing for several years.
Let’s begin with Sky Sports’ Gary Neville, who – despite Tottenham’s dogged chase of Liverpool and City – believes the North London side won’t overhaul the top two.
With the gap at the top so close with 13 games left to play, Manchester United legend Neville feels that the title race is set for a thrilling finale.
The Sport Review report: “The former England star also feels that Tottenham are not in contention to challenge for the title, despite the fact that Spurs are just two points behind Manchester City as things stand.
“Speaking to Sky Sports on Sunday after City’s win over Arsenal, Neville said: ‘I think two points or five points, whatever it will be [on Monday] night after the end of the game, won’t be a gap worth shouting about at all.
‘We’ve got a great three months to look forward to and at this moment in time, the only danger to Man City is City themselves, I think, because if City are neck-and-neck with three or four games to go, I think they will win it.
‘They will really have the maturity to come through whereas Liverpool will need that three or four points gap.
‘I woke up this morning to people saying Tottenham are title contenders again and I don’t think they are.
“I always think with Tottenham, they’ll keep getting close and then dropping back again – I don’t think they’ve quite got it.’
Meanwhile, in The Independent, Bernardo Silva believes Sergio Aguero deserves to be talked of in the same breath as the game’s proven greats.
The story reads: “The Portuguese winger even went as far to suggest his City teammate in the same category as five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.
On the beach at Blackpool
‘I have played with Cristiano in the national team so it wouldn’t be fair to say yes,’ said Silva when asked if Aguero is the best he has played with. ‘I think Sergio is just a fantastic player and we are so happy to have him with us.
‘It is a privilege to have a player like Kun in our team who scores in the big games like he showed today, so I just hope he can keep going this way and help us win more games and titles.’
RTE continue the theme, with Bernardo saying the Blues can’t afford any more slip-ups in the weeks ahead and particularly in the next two games.
They report: “City are back in action at Everton in a rearranged game on Wednesday before hosting Chelsea next Sunday.
“The Portuguese midfielder said: ‘We knew after the Newcastle defeat, we had to give a response to that game in front of our fans.
‘We are very happy with the win, very happy with the way we played.
‘I think it was a good performance (to get) back to winning ways and mentally it is very good for us because now we have two very difficult games against Everton and Chelsea which we want to win.
‘If we don't, it will start getting very difficult to fight for this Premier League. If we want to keep being alive in the Premier League, we have to win them.
‘We have some pressure, but we will keep trying to do our best."
Meanwhile, Sky Sports feature skipper Vincent Kompany who has been promoting his homeless charity Tackle4MCR
The Belgian says he is relaxed about his future and just focusing on getting back to full fitness for the huge games ahead.
Write Sky: “Kompany says no one at Manchester City is ‘making any hasty decisions’ over his future at the club.
“Kompany has struggled with injury problems this season that have limited him to just 14 matches for the club, with a muscular problem currently ruling him out of contention.
"I am in a privileged position, I have such a good relationship with the club. We're in this as partners,’ he said.
‘Nobody is making any hasty decisions. We have fixtures and fixtures and fixtures coming up - four trophies still to play for - and a contract that still exists.
‘That is the key thing. There is no need to look too far beyond. Everybody is relaxed.’
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game and Vital Football Everton report the Toffees have one or two injury issues to contend with.
It reads: “Things don’t get better either as the midweek clash against Manchester City means it’s probably the last side we wanted to face with our current form, and few will believe getting back out on the pitch quickly will help us this time, instead wishing we had a full of training to try and iron out our problems.
“Going into the tie PhysioRoom.com list four players as being doubts for the game, and they are Leighton Baines (rib injury), Idrissa Gueye (groin strain) and Yerry Mina (foot problem).
Lots of fans will look at Gueye’s potential ongoing omission with some curiosity following our deadline day rejection of Paris Saint-Germain’s overtures, but with Phil Jagielka listed as being out with a ‘knock’ but having a four-day time frame, he can probably be ruled out.
“Given recent performances some will believe it’s the perfect build-up to further count against us, others will wonder if it makes any difference at all.”
Finally, a welcome distraction from the title race as Newport and Middlesbrough replay this evening for the right to face the Blues in the FA Cup fifth round.
The South Wales Argus suggest if Newport win, it would mean a tie with City and take their FA Cup run profits to £1.2m.
‘It’s going to be a big one,’ said manager Michael Flynn. ‘A win would be massive for the club. It’s absolutely huge.
“A sell-out crowd of more than 6,000 will be packed into Rodney Parade tonight and Flynn is relishing the big occasion.
‘It’s fantastic,’ said the Exiles boss. ‘It’s great that people are coming out to support us and I think there’ll be a few stubs kept if we win because it will mean they get priority for the Man City game.
‘Let’s just hope we give them some more special memories. I know it will be a special atmosphere. The fans love the big occasion and they will get behind us.’
That’s all for today – back tomorrow with more of the same…