Leicester faces some tricky games while Tottenham, trailing by seven points, appears to have an easier title run-in
By Lester J Wan
Just three games or less to go before the Barclays Premier League title is finally decided after an eventful, unpredictable season.
While Leicester City is still the over-whelming favourite for the title, there are questions being asked (and odds being lowered) after the team dropped points against West Ham United and had Jamie Vardy sent off. What more surprises lie ahead in the Premier League title run-in?
Tottenham Hotspur, albeit trailing by seven points, seems to have an easier set of opponents in its remaining fixtures. Leicester has a few tricky games ahead, including against FA Cup finalist Manchester United this weekend.
Manchester United VS Leicester City, May 1
Riyad Mahrez scored for the Foxes in the 4-0 mauling of the Swans and clinched the PFA Player of the Year award on the same day. (Photo: mooinblack / Shutterstock.com)
Manchester United is on a four-match league and FA Cup winning streak, including having made it to the FA Cup Final. While United may have lost to Spurs 3-0 before that and Leicester is the league leader, Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial are in scoring form and the Red Devils will be expected to have some fire in their bellies, especially as they’re desperate to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and to regain some dignity in the Premier League.
Riyad Mahrez won the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the Year award for his 17 goals and 11 assists up to that point in an unbelievable campaign, and will be raring to go.
Argentine Leonardo Ulloa also scored (a brace) in the 4-0 thrashing of Swansea City last week and will be expected to perform again, especially when Vardy is likely to be suspended for a second match for improper conduct during his sending off against West Ham.
Evidently, Leicester trips now and then and, at this point, the Red Devils may be hungrier with the Foxes having a seven-point cushion and only needing one more win from three matches to win the league.
Manchester Utd 2-1 Leicester
Southampton VS Manchester City, May 1
Nigerian starlet Kelechi Iheanacho has been a goalscoring revelation for Manchester City, including having bagged two goals last weekend. (Photo: photo-oxser / Shutterstock.com)
Manchester City has been brushing aside mid-table teams by large margins in the past month, such as 4-0 against Stoke on Monday, 3-0 against Chelsea the previous weekend and 4-0 against AFC Bournemouth at the beginning of April. However, City’s form has been undulating and includes a narrow win over West Bromwich Albion and a draw with relegation-threatened Newcastle United on Apr 19. Which City will turn up against Southampton this May 1?
Southampton has been a fairly strong team and has produced some good results under manager Ronald Koeman. There is a chance that the Saints may march strongly against City.
Moreover, City’s preoccupation with the Champions League matches against Real Madrid sandwiching this particular fixture may result in very distracted or tired Citizens. It wouldn’t be beyond the Saints to produce a draw or even labour to a more miraculous result.
Southampton 1-1 Manchester City
Chelsea VS Tottenham Hotspur, May 3
Tottenham’s Harry Kane is still the top scorer in the Premier League — will he beat Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy who are hot on his heels? (Photo: CHEN WS / Shutterstock.com)
While Chelsea may have orchestrated well its 4-1 win over Bournemouth last weekend — with Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas putting in strong performances — don’t forget that it was walloped 3-0 by City just the weekend before, and has had a string of poor results more or less since the beginning of March.
The forgotten one among the floundering “Big Five” has much to prove, beyond one good match, and can be expected to falter to Spurs in full steam. Star performers Harry Kane and Dele Alli, who recently won the PFA Young Player of the Year award, will be expected to lead the charge after a disappointing result against West Brom. However, the latest news from ESPN FC is that Alli was caught on video striking West Brom’s Claudio Yacob and may be slapped with a three-match ban.
Chelsea 1–2 Tottenham
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 151, April 29 – May 12, 2016, with the headline ‘Will the Red Devils trip the Foxes?’.