As we enter the final days of the Premier League season, the coronation of Manchester City as an all-time team in European football history seems to be a foregone conclusion. Pep Guardiola and his squad can see the finish line with the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup championships all well within their grasp.
Manchester City's Historic Season
“We are there now, and the players can think about it, visualize it,” Guardiola said following his club's demolition of Real Madrid. “We are three games away. One in each competition. We can do it.”
On this week's episode of The NBC Sports Soccer Pub, Jay Croucher sat down with former Prem League central defender Gary O'Reilly (@mythreeleftfeet) to talk top and bottom of the Table and all the news in between.
Kevin De Bruyne and his mates sit four points ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League. A win Sunday at the Etihad against a scuttling Chelsea squad would secure the title as City need only capture three points over their last three games. The title will be Manchester City's third in a row and fifth in six years.
O'Reilly believes if Chelsea watched City's performance against Real Madrid yesterday, they may have already lost their upcoming tilt against the top team in the world currently.
“I don't think I've seen a more complete and controlled performance as a team for a long time. I think that is going to take them to a point where they know they can retain their title...I think Chelsea will struggle. They've struggled sadly for most of the season, and I don't see them coming out of that.”
(Read and Watch More: Man City's stomp of Real Madrid)
To that end, Chelsea has hired yet another manager. Mauricio Pochettino has assumed the reigns at Stamford Bridge and will try to resurrect a club that only two years ago won the Champions League and yet finds itself outside the Top Ten in the Premier League this season.
O'Reilly believes the former PSG manager can right the ship at Chelsea.
“I think Pochettino is probably analyzing every training session they do remotely, working out what it is that he has to solve before he gets through the front door. And I think we'll see something interesting in a positive way.”
One of O'Reilly's old clubs and the one that tugs most at his heartstrings is Tottenham. Picked by many experts to finish Top 2 in the Premier League this season, Spurs is likely not to even finish Top 6. This weekend, Harry Kane and co. take on Brentford minus their leader, Ivan Toney. Spurs are rightfully favored, but O'Reilly is not banking on a win.
“Even if they do not have even Tony upfront, I mean don't forget Tony scored close to 50% of their total goals this season (20 out of 33). So, this is this is something that is going to be missed…You're not going to easily replace that. Tottenham on paper should be able to do this but then again, we have taken a Champions League spot and turned it into possibly a Europa League conference spot. I mean, how do you do that? I mean, it is totally spazzy this season. Anyone who knows me knows I suffer from Tottenham Tourettes right now and I may not, may not get over that until sometime in the summer. But that's a fact. So yeah, I think Spurs should beat them.”
Both Jay and Gary agree that Tottenham has talent but work to do to regain their footing amongst the best in the Premier League.
(Read and Watch More: How to Watch and Follow the Premier League)
Before ending this week's episode, the two spoke about the bottom of the Table. O'Reilly believes the standings will not change over the final ten days of the season.
“Leeds concedes silly goals. They're not bad. They've got a threat of goal scoring but it's not a big threat. So, you look at the running they had when Sam Allardyce joined and you're thinking they've got to play Man City, then they've got to play Nottingham Forest, West Ham, and Tottenham. One game in there that's going to save them is West Ham. So, they basically bought Sam Allardyce into manage Leeds United for one game…Leicester, they concede too many silly goals, but they are able to score goals. They do have that potency in there. It's just that they keep throwing them away at the back. So, I'm looking at Leicester's confidence and I'm just thinking I'm not sure it's there…At the moment, I think it is as the bookies would draw your attention to Leeds and Leicester that join the Saints in the Championship.”
You can hear more from Gary O'Reilly on Grumpy Pundits on SiriusXM and on the podcast, “Startalk Sports Edition” which is available wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
Brad Thomas (@MrBradThomas) Newcastle -1.5 (+100) v. Leicester City
“I think it's a total mismatch. I don't want to play this game on anything other than the goal line here because when Newcastle win, they win by a lot, they just keep scoring and keep scoring especially in their home stadium.”
Drew Dinsick (@whale_capper) Manchester City to Win to Nil (+100) v. Chelsea
“Chelsea as was covered in great detail, stink, and they've quit and they can't score even when they're trying so why in the world would they get on the board against a Man City team right now that is clicking on all cylinders. This looks like all systems go for Man City.”
Jay Croucher (@croucherJD) Brentford Draw No Bet (+185) @ Tottenham
“I know that Ivan Tony won't be there, and he is very important for them. But I think this Tottenham team at the moment is such a rabble. I think defensively, they're still a bit of a mess. I don't think they really have that much to play for either.”\
Enjoy the weekend on the pitch and enjoy the sweat.