EPL

Grealish not expecting another Liverpool slip-up in Premier League title race

By Sports Desk May 09, 2022

Jack Grealish does not expect any more favours from Liverpool, as he called on Manchester City to win their remaining games to defend their Premier League crown.

City seized the initiative in an absorbing title battle on Sunday, thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 after Jurgen Klopp's Reds had been held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Tottenham on Saturday. 

Having embarked on a nine-match unbeaten run in the league, winning seven of those, City hold a three-point advantage heading into the final three games of the season, and will travel to Wolves for their next outing on Wednesday after watching Liverpool face Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Grealish, however, says City must simply focus on winning their remaining games to be crowned champions, and thinks another error from quadruple-chasing Liverpool is unlikely.

"Liverpool are a great team and I don't think they will be slipping up again if I am honest," he said. "We have to stay on the ball and go and pick up maximum points.

"For me, the Premier League is the best league in the world. Anything can happen in these remaining games, so we have to stay strong and keep our foot on the pedal.

"We cannot take our foot off it, and they are going to be three very tough games and we have to get maximum points if we want to lift the title."

City travel to Molineux looking to extend a 16-match unbeaten run away from home in the Premier League, the longest such streak in their league history, and have kept five consecutive clean sheets on the road in the top flight.

Having arrived at the Etihad Stadium as the most expensive British player in history last year, Grealish has not enjoyed a standout individual season, recording just five goals and four assists in 37 appearances in all competitions.

However, the England star has created 73 chances, with only Kevin De Bruyne (119) laying on more opportunities for City this term.

The 26-year-old was criticised after missing two great chances in City's stunning Champions League capitulation against Real Madrid last week, and admitted prior to the Newcastle win that he "could have done better" since his move.

But Grealish says he has enjoyed his debut campaign with Guardiola's team, which he is hopeful will end with the first major trophy of his career.

"I am loving it. This is what I have come here for, to play in these big games and that is what I want to do," he added. "I want to win medals, win titles, so I am really enjoying it.

"I have got the lads, the staff and the manager to thank for that for making me feel so welcome. Hopefully we can all win something."

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    Pep Guardiola has been named Premier League Manager of the Season for the fifth time after leading Manchester City to a fourth straight title.

    City edged out Arsenal by two points on the final day of the season to win their eighth Premier League title, their sixth under Guardiola and their fourth in a row.

    They are the first team in English football history to win more than three consecutive titles, while Guardiola is just the fourth manager to win six English top-flight crowns. 

    Alex Ferguson leads the way with 13, while Guardiola has matched former Aston Villa manager George Ramsay and Liverpool legend Bob Paisley.

    With 11, Ferguson is also the only person to win the Premier League Manager of the Season award more often than Guardiola, with his fifth dragging him further clear of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger (three each).

    Guardiola also claimed the prize after overseeing title-winning campaigns in 2017-18, 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2022-23.

    Having seen off competition from four other nominees, Guardiola said they deserved to share the honour with him.

    "I want to share it, especially with Mikel [Arteta] for the incredible job he has done until the last game, bringing us to our limits," said Guardiola.

    "Of course, for Jurgen [Klopp], for the unforgettable battles for many, many years. And Unai Emery, making something unbelievable again to bring Aston Villa to the Champions League.

    "And Andoni Iraola, with Bournemouth, being his first season in the Premier League, doing what he has done and coming back from a tough start to the season.

    "It is an honour to be alongside all of them and to win this trophy. We will defend this award as best as possible in the future."

  • Ferguson still better than Guardiola, says James Ferguson still better than Guardiola, says James

    Former Manchester City goalkeeper David James hails Pep Guardiola for "doing remarkable things" but believes he is still not at Alex Ferguson’s level.

    City became the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive titles with their 3-1 win over West Ham on Sunday, pipping Arsenal to the crown by two points.

    Manchester United had previously won three consecutive Premier League seasons, achieving the feat twice under Ferguson (1998-2001 and 2006-2009).

    Guardiola’s side can create more history on Saturday as they aim to clinch unprecedented back-to-back league and FA Cup doubles against the Red Devils.

    Asked if this achievement put Guardiola’s name alongside Ferguson’s as the best Premier League manager, James, who spent two years with City, disagreed.

    "No, Fergie's still the best. Look at statistics and longevity," James told Stats Perform. "And even more so, since Fergie left, what's happened to Manchester United.

    "You can't even blame or use the excuse he had a good team and did well with it, Fergie rode the waves, he was up and down and even these downs weren't particularly bad.

    "I think third or fourth was probably the worst they ever did; Fergie was the best and Pep will have to hang around for another decade, I think, before he can actually challenge that position.

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    Following their victory over West Ham, Guardiola stated that he was "closer to leaving than staying", raising speculation that next season could be his last.

    "I think the big question for Pep, and it is logical that he will now become the focus given that Jurgen Klopp announced his departure a few months ago, and all of a sudden it was nothing, but Jurgen and he will be the next focus," James added.

    "I think the thing for Pep is, what does he want to do as a person? And it's not that he's completed the treble and that's enough because I think that he would want to do a treble treble, you want to do a quadruple.

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    "I would like him to stay. I would like him to stay because I think when you've got someone so good, you need someone to beat them legitimately rather than them just step away and allow everyone else to play.

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  • Liverpool have to expect change under Slot, says Zenden Liverpool have to expect change under Slot, says Zenden

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    "Well, let's put it this way. Someone said life is like a box of chocolates, you know, you never know what you're going to get until it's there, and it's the same with Slot," he told Stats Perform.

    "You know, there's going to be a change. You never know what the change will be like. As I said, there will be a change, that's for sure.

    "For example, if you look at Arsenal, what I admire about the Arsenal people in charge is that the beginning of Arteta at Arsenal. I'm sure you remember well, it was painful for the fans, for the people that had the love for the Gunners.

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    "I'm sure in Liverpool, they'll keep their head up high when they go through that storm if it's there. But no, it's going to be a change, of course, but when Slot takes over, I hope that it'll go down well."

    Slot led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title in 2023 and was named Eredivisie Manager of the Year on two occasions, while also winning the KNVB Beker this season.

    While some have questioned if Slot will be able to deal with the big stars at the club, Zenden does not believe that will be a problem.

    "Yeah, but listen, it is what it is. Of course, Feyenoord this is nowhere near the magnitude of Liverpool. Feyenoord is a big club, but Liverpool is a massive club. So, there's certainly the expectations that come with the club," he added.

    "Also, when you are in a big club, there are big players with big egos and I think what could help Slot as well is that he used to play himself.

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    "I think Jurgen Klopp over the years also had a few, I'm not going say run-ins, but of course, there's been issues, but they've all been solved and taken care of, one or the other."

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