English Premiership

Pellegrini's City scent glory

2014-05-03 10:35
Manuel Pellegrini (File)

Manchester - Manuel Pellegrini expects the surge of adrenaline from regaining control of the title race will carry Manchester City to the English Premiership crown.

Pellegrini's side have the destiny of the title back in their hands after leaders Liverpool suffered an unexpected home defeat against Chelsea last Sunday.

City followed that result by cruising to a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace just hours later to move within three points of top spot.

Crucially the Eastlands outfit have a game in hand on Liverpool and a superior goal difference to the Reds (+58 to +50), meaning City are almost certain to be crowned champions for the second time in three years if they win their last three matches.

With Chelsea not hosting Norwich until Sunday and Liverpool visiting Crystal Palace on Monday, City can strike the next blow by taking over at the top with a win at Everton on Saturday.

Pellegrini has noticed a spring in his players' step since Sunday's potentially decisive swing in City's favour and he hopes the momentum will sweep them to the trophy.

"Of course, when you just depend on what you can do it is better for all the players," he said.

"After we lost against Liverpool, maybe the mood wasn't the same. That's maybe why we didn't play so well against Sunderland.

"At the moment the motivation is very high, now it is important that the performance also must be high."

Chelsea saw their hopes of a trophy double dashed last Wednesday when they lost 3-1 at home to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

Two points off the summit, Jose Mourinho's side need both Liverpool and City to falter if they are to claim the title, but goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer says that they have no option but to keep on fighting.

"We need to put the others under pressure," said the Australian, whose side will go back above City into first place if they overcome third-bottom Norwich on Sunday.

"We have to pick ourselves up from this disappointment and realise we must keep banging on the door with the game against Norwich. We must make sure we pick up three points so we can capitalise on any slip-ups."- Reclaim top spot -

Whatever City and Chelsea do this weekend, Liverpool will reclaim top spot if they win at Palace and boss Brendan Rodgers insists his team are still confident of securing their first league title since 1990.

"For us the focus is on ourselves because we can't rely on anyone. We have to do our own job, and our job is to get three points at Crystal Palace," he said.

"Anything other than that is not worth worrying about to be honest. I will focus on Liverpool and Liverpool only."

Having stretched their lead over Everton with a breezy 3-0 success against Newcastle on Monday, Arsenal can rubber-stamp a top-four finish if they win at home to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Manchester United's Champions League ambitions have long faded, but they will look to build on last weekend's 4-0 win over Norwich, in interim manager Ryan Giggs' first game in charge, when they host Sunderland.

Sunderland, however, are on a run of back-to-back victories that have lifted them out of the bottom three, and having already beaten both City and Chelsea this season, they have pedigree against the top sides.

"We haven't played to the level that we're capable of this season, but we did that against Norwich," said Giggs.

"It can't just be for one game. It has to be for longer than that. Every time you play for Manchester United you have to stay at that level, and they have to keep to these standards against Sunderland."

While Sunderland also have a game in hand to fulfil, time is running out for bottom club Cardiff, who are two points from safety ahead of Saturday's trip to Newcastle.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could be relegated this weekend if results go against them, while Fulham are also in a perilous position, just a point better off and facing a trip to Stoke.

Fixtures

Saturday, May 3

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - 13:45
Stoke City v Fulham - 16:00
Swansea City v Southampton - 16:00
Manchester United v Sunderland - 16:00
Newcastle United v Cardiff City - 16:00
Aston Villa v Hull City - 16:00
Everton v Manchester City - 18:30

Sunday, May 4

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - 14:30
Chelsea v Norwich City - 17:00

Monday, May 5

Crystal Palace v Liverpool - 21:00

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