This year’s title race has been a real humdinger. But – with plenty of big games to play – we’ve been taking a look at the fixtures that could decide the champions of the 2018/19 Premier League…
This year’s Premier League pre-season was abuzz with hype surrounding Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, thanks to some shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market – including midfield lynchpin Fabinho and ace shot stopper Alisson. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, meanwhile, were fresh off clinching last year’s Premier League title with style, playing a devastatingly slick brand of attacking football that left the chasing pack in their wake.
Both teams have spent the ensuing season trading blows, with Liverpool leading the pack for the majority of the season, and City in hot pursuit. A win would represent a historic season for both clubs – City being the first team to retain the title since Fergie’s United, and Liverpool clinching their first title in over two decades.
But it’s not always been a two-horse race. Pochettino’s Spurs snuck quietly into the title reckoning for much of the season, with a slew of late winners and relentless consistency keeping them just about in the mix. However, their recent losses to Burnley and Chelsea has extended the points gap.
If you’re keen to keep up to date, you can see how all the action unfolds on Sky Sports Mobile TV – for two years – with a Red Entertainment plan from Vodafone UK. All signed up? We’ve highlighted the fixtures that’ll decide the destination of the Premier League title…
Everton v Liverpool | Sunday March 3, 4.15pm, Sky Sports
Last weekend, Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with historic rivals Man United kept them at the top spot by a slender margin of one point. Nerves have been creeping in for a little while for Klopp’s men, with points dropped at Leicester and West Ham cranking up the pressure. With this in mind, and despite a 5-0 victory over Watford, Liverpool will be incredibly wary of an away derby trip to Goodison Park, with Klopp’s squad only just squeaking over the line in the reverse fixture thanks to a late winner from Divock Origi.
Marco Silva’s side, meanwhile, will want to cement its place as the best of the rest, before building on their eventual league position next year. Everton’s ambitions extend to the top-four and beyond, and despite a raft of new signings, Silva’s come under increased scrutiny to prove he’s more than a short-term fix after Sam Allardyce’s unpopular time with the Toffees.
Unlucky to lose at Anfield, Everton will hope to dent their neighbours’ title hopes – and certainly have the attacking players to do so, even if Richarlison, Bernard, Sigurdsson et al have seldom found their rhythm in the past few months. If Liverpool’s front three are on song, however, and assuming Firmino recovers from his knock against United, this could be a long day for Silva’s men. In a game they can’t afford to lose, the reds will certainly be hoping this is the case.
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur | Sunday Mar 31, 16.30pm, Sky Sports
A clash between first and third, this is a fixture that will have Man City fans licking their lips, with the opportunity to see two rivals take points off each other at an all-important part of the season. Liverpool, who, at the beginning of the year had a seemingly unassailable lead over Man City, now find themselves pretty much neck and neck with the reigning Champions, while Spurs could close the gap between themselves and the top two with a win here.
Pochettino’s side’s away record against the top six this year will make for worrying reading for Tottenham fans, though with nerves creeping in for Liverpool, this represents a potential banana skin for Klopp’s reds as the run-in heats up.
Liverpool v Chelsea | Sunday Apr 14, 16.30pm, Sky Sports
A fixture that’s gained extra needle ever since Luis Garcia’s ghost goal in the 04-05 Champions League semi-final, this meeting will strike fear in the heart of any Liverpool fan. Indeed, it was the same fixture in 2014 that derailed their title chase after Gerrard’s infamous slip gifted victory to a typically resolute José Mourinho side.
Chelsea, however, are a different beast this season, with Sarri’s men capable of stunning highs (beating Man City 2-0) and crushing lows (losing the reverse fixture 6-0). They’re still in with a chance for a top four place, however, and Liverpool will have to be at their best to come out on top here and avoid a potential stumble in their race for the title. Whatever the result, expect drama.
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur | Saturday Apr 20, 12.30pm, Sky Sports
Tottenham have made third place their own over the last few months, and maintained pace with the front two until their recent defeats at the hands of Sean Dyche’s Burnley and Sarri’s Chelsea. This is a remarkable feat given that Pochettino made no signings in the summer, while both Man City and Liverpool spent lavishly to bolster their credentials. Indeed, this is one of the many reasons the manager is so highly sought-after by some of the world’s biggest clubs.
Manchester City, meanwhile, will fancy their chances of taking all three points and to extend the gap between the two teams. The reverse fixture saw City clinch victory thanks to a strike from Riyad Mahrez and, at home, they’ll be hoping to keep up the pressure on Liverpool.
However, Spurs should be boosted by the returns of Harry Kane and Dele Alli from injuries, who can help lighten the goal-scoring burden on Spurs’ soon-to-be-crowned player of the season, Son Heung-min. With those three unshackled and receiving support from Danish string-puller Christian Erikson, Spurs can bring the fight to City.
Manchester United v Manchester City | Wednesday April 24, 20.00pm, Sky Sports
While big fixtures can sometimes fail to live up to the hype, the last few Manchester derbies have delivered the goods. This season’s reverse fixture saw City at their imperious best and Mourinho’s United at their ponderous worst in what would be a 3-1 win for Pep’s men, while the previous fixture, at the Etihad, saw United mount an incredible comeback from 2-0 to stop City claiming the title in that very game.
At a glance, things may not seem that different to when the two teams met this time last year: City gunning for the title, while United lag behind. And while one the face of it this may be the case, optimism is rife in the red half of Manchester thanks to the return of prodigal son and goal-scoring legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær and a rich run of form that’s lead to a genuine fight for Champions League places.
It’s been a little while since United beat City at Old Trafford in the league (they were under the stewardship of Louis Van Gaal at the time), but this result will be incredibly hard to call, with Solskjær’s resurgent reds playing a brand of attacking football not seen since Sir Alex was entrenched in the dugout. Guardiola, meanwhile, will have all eyes on the title and usurping Liverpool. This could be a derby for the ages.
With the title race entering crunch time, this could be the fixture that swings it. That said, there’s still time for more twists and turns. You can keep on top of the action with Sky Sports Mobile TV, available at no extra cost for two years with a Red Entertainment plan from Vodafone UK. Click to learn more.
Want to see what other attention-grabbing TV is available? Check out our list of 2019’s most unmissable TV shows to stream…