Manchester United will officially become Champions Elect if they beat Liverpool on Sunday and City fail to pick up all three points at the Emirates later in the day. The two big fixtures means that both rivals will be rooting for the other to drop points in what could prove to be another crucial weekend in the EPL title race.
United took the gigantic step of going 7 points clear after that breathtaking win over City in December but could be pulled back within range if they fail to beat Liverpool and City win at Arsenal. On the other hand, United will be Champions Elect if they open up a double-digit lead against City at the end of the weekend. Those, dear reader are the permutations heading into episode 22 of Britain's most watched drama series.
At the moment, we're in such good shape results-wise that it is easy to lose concentration ahead of a game like this and wear an expectant mood. The reality is that if there is any team most desperate to see United finish off the top this year, its Liverpool. They will go into this game fired up to restore some pride after that Anfield win we posted earlier in the season. We're home and so it will be expected that our players are up to speed following a week-long rest.
The reason why I didn't fancy the FA Cup last weekend is because of permutations like the one we have now. We've got a replay next Wednesday after the game and you wonder if that will affect the manager's selection. Obviously he will play his best players on Sunday but you wonder if one or two other squad players who would otherwise be required for this game will be rested ahead of that game.
Anyhow, we have the advantage of playing first on Sunday, meaning that we could strike a psychological blow to City ahead of their game. This same scenario happened last season when we won the earlier game at home vs Liverpool and City found themselves under pressure at the Emirates--so much so that they lost. It is unlikely they'd have lost that game had we lost ours too. We've been playing after them a lot recently and have coped well to maintain our advantage, but you'd imagine that this is an opportunity for us to really turn the screw and throw more doubt in their minds.
Even if the gap at the top stays the same, the advantage will remain with us because A) that's one less fixture remaining and B) that's another difficult tie out of the way for us.
I'll therefore be the first to do an RVP upper cut celebration if results go our way on Sunday!
Till then Cheers!
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!