With international duties now over, club football returned this week to continue the fight for the first place in domestic leagues. German redemption and Dutch youth were among other teams that had their chance to compete for Euro 2020 qualification, but this weekend collected players back to their respective clubs for league games which precede the Champions League quarterfinals of mid-April. In England, the competition is still hot as every team has a chance at getting something out of this season’s campaign.
The shoving for the top seat in the league continues in England as it started since last August. Manchester City’s 2-0 firm statement in Fulham’s stadium on Saturday was followed up by Liverpool’s lucky strike at home against Tottenham on Sunday, to shake up the top of the table once more. The Spurs had to stay on level with Manchester United in the league, since the tough loss against Liverpool keeps them at 61 points. Toby Alderweireld was a hero during the game with his decisive interventions on defense, but also unwillingly gifted a second goal to Liverpool after a long 1-1 battle between the two teams.
This result gives United a chance to contest the third place on Tuesday’s away match against Wolverhampton. The official acquisition of ex-United champion Ole Gunnar Solskjær puts the team at a better position than thought before. This decision puts the team in a more leveled state of mind, even though Arsenal and Chelsea are after United’s and Tottenham’s Champions League slots.
Under Unai Emery, Arsenal’s path has been rocky, with occasional glories surprising the critics, and dreadful losses disappointing the hopeful ones. They’ve yet to complete their Week 32 run, since Newcastle visits them on April Fool’s to hope for a result to not be made a joke of. Chelsea already played their cards on Sunday in an away comeback against Crystal Palace, when Azpilicueta and Loftus-Cheek’s late goals saved the day for Sarri’s Blues.
While Arsenal and Chelsea have collected 60 points each so far and are sitting on Europa League contention, the rest of the league are distanced by 16 points, the closes being Wolverhampton and Leicester City, who reach from under with 44 points each. With four to five matches left in the season, contention for any European participation have fallen short for the rest of the table.
In terms of individual achievements, Sergio Agüero has proven to be Manchester City’s secret weapon in the midst of an array of artillery. Younger talents like Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling would make an aging star’s life like Agüero very hard when considering the age difference and expected form that typically precipitates.
However, the Argentinian leads the scoreboard with 19 goals and an impressive rate of 105 minutes per goal. In recent years, Manchester City’s failure to thrive on the European stage causes for his performances, but this year the team makes strong statements by scoring mercilessly and making it clear that they want the silverware. While Sterling is on the rise to stardom confirmation, Agüero could be leading a team that can get the job done this year. They’ve already won the English League Cup, have hit their stride on the FA Cup, have already beaten Liverpool in case of close contesting for the EPL title, and are on their way to the Champions League semifinals. The quadruple feat could even lift Agüero to a top five Ballon d’Or shortlist, especially if Argentina finalizes on their Copa America this summer.
Some matches remain for the rest of the week’s action to wrap up another round of English League football. Every match carries crucial weight for every team, as there is still something within reach for everyone.
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