EPL

Premier League title race destiny is 'in our hands', says Man City boss Guardiola

By Sports Desk May 17, 2024

Pep Guardiola knows the fate of the Premier League title race is in Manchester City's hands, as he urged his players to leave nothing to chance.

City head into the final day of the season in pole position, two points ahead of Arsenal and on the brink of an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title.

Guardiola's team will be champions again if they beat West Ham at home. They could still win the league with a draw, but only if Arsenal fail to beat Everton.

And Guardiola's message to his team was a clear one.

"At that moment, the destiny is in our hands," he said. "But if you are waiting for [Arsenal] to drop points again, you are wrong.

"If you were thinking Arsenal were going to lose at Old Trafford [against Manchester United] forget about it. If you are thinking Everton are going do something on Sunday, forget about it.

"This is not going to happen. We did what we had to do against Crystal Palace, against Wolves, Fulham, Spurs and now we have the last one. So they know it's win, otherwise Arsenal will be champions."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is wanting a favour from his old boss David Moyes, who insisted West Ham's focus was purely on themselves, and not on spoiling anyone's parade.

"Football is a strange game. You never know what moments are going to give you the opportunity to win and we have to try to take those opportunities when we can," Moyes said.

"We're not playing to make Manchester City lose the Premier League and we're not playing to make Arsenal win the Premier League.

"We're playing for West Ham and we're trying to win the game for West Ham. We can't finish lower than ninth, which is a really good league position for West Ham in lots of ways."

This will be Moyes' final game in charge of the Hammers, and Guardiola hopes to see the Scot back in management soon.

"He will be back, that is my feeling. He cannot be at home," Guardiola said.

"My first game [at City] was against Sunderland and David Moyes was there. Now, an important game, he will be there again.

"It's always an honour to see him. He is a lovely person and his experience speaks for itself. But he will do what he can to beat us."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Manchester City - Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne has six assists in Premier League final games – it is the most of any current player, with only Nolberto Solano providing more in the competition's history (seven). De Bruyne’s assist for Haaland against Spurs on Tuesday took him to 112 in the Premier League, with only Ryan Giggs having more in the history of the competition (162).

West Ham - Jarrod Bowen

With 16 league goals this season, it has been another excellent campaign for Bowen, who will be hoping to finish on a high and force himself into England's Euro 2024 squad.

MATCH PREDICTION: MAN CITY WIN

This will be Moyes' 198th and final Premier League game in charge of West Ham – no permanent manager has a higher win rate for the Hammers in the competition than the Scotsman.

However, Opta's model does not fancy the Hammers' chances. West Ham have lost 5-2 at Crystal Palace and 5-0 at Chelsea in their last two Premier League away games; the last team to concede 5+ goals in three consecutive top-flight away games were Blackburn Rovers (April-August 1965), while West Ham last did so in April 1932.

City are the only side yet to lose a home Premier League match this season (W13 D5). City are looking to remain unbeaten at home in a top-flight season for a fourth time, along with 1904-05, 1920-21 and 2011-12, while manager Pep Guardiola has only gone a full top-flight season unbeaten once before, with Barcelona in 2009-10.

West Ham have conceded at least once in all 17 of their Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium – only Tottenham have played at a specific venue more in the competition without ever keeping a clean sheet (18 at Emirates Stadium).

City are unbeaten in their last 16 Premier League games against West Ham (W13 D3), since a 2-1 home loss in September 2015.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Man City - 75%

West Ham - 8.3%

Draw - 16.7%

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