Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (centre), Stevan Jovetic (left) and Martín Demichelis leave the pitch after a disappointing 2-2 draw with bottom-side Sunderland on April 16, 2014. – AFP Photo
FROM a position of almost certain triumph, Manchester City have slipped so rapidly that they now find themselves holding on to dear life – and having to depend on results of other teams just to get back into the title-reckoning.
The defeat at Liverpool last weekend and the midweek stalemate with Sunderland have knocked the stuffing out of City’s quest to regain the Premier League crown they won two years ago.
Prior to these setbacks, the Citizens were cruising, trailing their main rivals in the standings, but with two games in hand.
Now that one of those games is out of the way and a crucial three points dropped against the league leaders last Sunday, the equation has been dramatically altered and City have been left at the wrong end of things.
Be that as it may, there is indeed a remote possibility of them still winning the league. However, it will have to come by way of them not slipping up any further and a couple of results going against the Anfield side and second-placed Chelsea.
That those two teams have a clash of their own next weekend could yet tilt things in City’s favour. But that would only materialise if the game ends in a draw and Liverpool don’t win one of their other fixtures either.
That is the calculation of City working themselves back into contention. Can it be done? Yes. So, Manuel Pellegrini and his squad have to keep fighting.
With this in mind, City will be keen on getting back to winning ways when West Brom visit the Etihad on Monday. Pellegrini will already have drilled into his side that if they want to stay in the hunt for the title, they have got to win this one.
On paper, it looks like a match that the 2012 Premiership champions should take rather easily. But, just as it has been down the years (and like against bottom-placed Sunderland), playing teams like West Brom who are struggling to avoid relegation at the end of the season, won’t be easy and upset results are not uncommon.
The two front-runners have a couple of games like this of their own and it will be interesting to see how they fair, just as it will be to see if Man City can actually come back from the dead and lift the trophy for a second time in three years.
We should have a clearer picture by Tuesday.
Shaun Orange believes City will narrowly beat West Brom and for some strange reason is also keeping an eye on the results of a few other matches.