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Premier League

The Warm-Up: Everyone give up and go home, the season ends on Saturday

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Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City addresses the media

Image credit: Getty Images

ByTom Adams
16/08/2019 at 07:33 | Updated 16/08/2019 at 07:55
@tomadams83

If Manchester City beat Tottenham tomorrow, the title race is finished. At least according to one account today.

FRIDAY’S BIG HEADLINES

Title race over tomorrow?

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Let’s get one thing straight: The Warm-Up loves a hot take. Feeds off them. Lives for them. Half-baked arguments solely constructed to meet word count and deadline are the only thing which keeps this column viable. You try bashing out 300 words on Wolves’ Europa League adventures while simultaneously trying to stuff a croissant in your face and change platforms at East Croydon. This is an art form. Recognise genius when you see it.

Anyway, full marks to Mark Ogden this morning, who has declared in a rather more prestigious setting that the Premier League title race might be over *on Saturday* if Manchester City manage to beat Tottenham. After two games!

With a mighty 2.6% of the season already completed, let’s take a look at the working out here.

The Premier League season is just 90 minutes old for each of the top flight's 20 clubs. Hopes and dreams remain alive for all of them, regardless of any defeats on the opening weekend, but the cold, harsh reality is that Matchday 2 could turn out to be a defining moment of the campaign.

“The record for successive Premier League wins, which City set by winning 18 on the bounce in 2017-18, is already under threat and could be equalled when City host Brighton on Aug 31. After facing Spurs this weekend, City embark on a run of nine league games against opponents from outside the so-called "Big Six," so they could obliterate their own record of 18 straight wins and raise the bar to an impossibly high level. And if City are on 25 successive league wins by the time they visit Anfield -- is it really that difficult to imagine? -- will the title race already be over bar the shouting?”

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It’s not such an unreasonable conclusion when you see the fixtures City have before facing Liverpool for the first time: Tottenham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Norwich, Watford, Everton, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Southampton. And as Ogden points out, “last season's runners-up Liverpool -- the team regarded by most as the only likely challengers to City this term -- face home games against Arsenal and Spurs, plus away trips to Chelsea and Manchester United.”

The article might have more ‘ifs’ than a Rudyard Kipling poem but there’s some truth in here. Tottenham likely do stand in the way of the best winning streak in Premier League history. But the title is another beast. Let’s wait until at least September before declaring it won or lost eh?

Tammy Abraham targeted

Tammy Abraham - Liverpool-Chelsea - 2019 European Supercup - Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

If you thought the start of a new season might herald an end to the depressing parade of racism which afflicted English football increasingly over the course of the last season (why would you ever think that?) then Friday’s back pages will quickly disabuse you of that notion.

Chelsea’s young striker Tammy Abraham finds himself plastered across two of them with The Star and The Mirror both leading with ‘Tammy’s Race Hate Hell’.

For failing to score a penalty in a match of little real consequence, Abraham has been targeted for racist abuse on social media. And Chelsea’s overworked communications department had to issue another public condemnation of discriminatory abuse.

We are disgusted with the abhorrent posts we have seen on social media. Chelsea FC finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour unacceptable. It has no place at this club and where there is clear evidence of Chelsea season ticket holders or members involved in such behaviour, we will take the strongest possible action against them.

Ozil and Kolasinac return

Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Oezil before the match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich

Image credit: Getty Images

There was good news at Arsenal, at least, with manager Unai Emery confirming that Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac are both available for the weekend’s match against Burnley having missed the opener against Newcastle due to grave concerns over their personal safety.

“They came back to training with us on Tuesday,” said Emery. “They came to start training with us and really Mesut Ozil is a little sick, he didn’t train yesterday but he trained today with us. I think each training gives us good information and good different options with them also to take the decision if they’re going to be with us on Saturday or be in the first XI. But we are going to wait until Friday, our last training session.” Asked if they are mentally ready to play, he replied: “Yes, 100%.”

IN OTHER NEWS

Antoine Griezmann, as we know, is a big Football Manager fan and in his latest save game he has taken Arsenal to 2023 - albeit at the expense of one of his mates.

When Alexandre Lacazette spotted he wasn’t in Griezmann’s starting XI, the brutal truth was revealed:

IN THE CHANNELS

Wolves were in Europa League action last night, beating Armenian outfit Pyunik 4-0 at home for an 8-0 aggregate win which means they go through to a play-off against Torino. But the undoubted highlight of the night was this stunning acrobatic strike by Diogo Jota. Wow.

RETRO CORNER

On the eve of City v Spurs, why not relive the GOAT match between the two sides. Tottenham cruising along at 3-0 up at half-time in an FA Cup fourth-round match in 2003-04, Joey Barton sent off as the teams walk off at half-time for having a pop at the ref... you know what happens next.

COMING UP

It’s the, ‘oh, we really aren’t in the Prem this season are we?’ derby tonight as Fulham go to Huddersfield. You can watch highlights of that match and all Saturday’s EFL action on Quest tomorrow evening!

Marcus Foley will have the full blow-by-blow account of how the Premier League season came to a thrilling conclusion on Monday.

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Related Topics
FootballPremier LeagueTottenham HotspurManchester City
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