London: Manchester City are showing no signs of letting up in their thrilling Premier League title race but their flawless form contrasts sharply with the struggles of the teams chasing a top-four finish.
Manchester United host Chelsea on Sunday hoping to arrest an alarming slide of seven defeats in nine games in all competitions.
But it is only thanks to the poor form of Maurizio Sarri’s men and Arsenal, who have suffered back-to-back defeats against Crystal Palace and Wolves, that United remain in the hunt for Champions League football next season, just three points off the top four.
United’s latest defeat to City on Wednesday lifted the defending champions one point ahead of Liverpool with three games left for both sides.
That stretched City’s winning streak in the league to 11 games, with the last slip-up by either of the title contenders remarkably now nearly two months ago, when Liverpool were held at Everton.
City are not in action until Sunday, when they travel to Burnley, and manager Pep Guardiola is wary of his side getting too over-excited at clearing what was expected to be the toughest hurdle left at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“I know people are going to talk about how beautiful we are, how handsome we are,” said Guardiola.
City, who amassed a record haul of 100 points last season, still dropped two at Turf Moor in a 1-1 draw.
United’s Solskjaer seeks goals Behind the top two, Tottenham look well set to secure a fourth straight season of Champions League football, opening up a four-point gap on fifth-placed Arsenal thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Brighton on Tuesday.
Spurs can widen that lead over their north London rivals even further when West Ham travel to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday hoping to become the first visiting team to score at the fifth time of asking in the club’s new home.
Arsenal could then move into the top four early on Sunday if they can cure their travel sickness and shore up a dismal defensive record at Leicester. A point would be enough to edge Unai Emery’s men above Chelsea on goal difference before Sarri’s team kick off at Old Trafford, where United will aim to end a near nine-hour drought without scoring from open play.
Real Madrid held to stalemate at Getafe Getafe, Spain: Real Madrid’s dreary end to the season took another turn for the worse on Thursday as they were left holding on for a goalless draw away to Champions League chasers Getafe.
Just 48 hours before Barcelona are set to be celebrating a 26th La Liga title at Camp Nou, Madrid drifted to a stalemate that leaves them 15 points behind the soon-to-be champions and, on this evidence, with significant ground to make up.
It says something that Getafe were, in the end, disappointed not to win here, Sevilla’s 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano before kick-off meaning they stay fourth.
Real Madrid were mathematically ruled out of the title race after Barcelona beat Alaves on Tuesday while Atletico Madrid look likely to finish above them too for a second consecutive year.
Zinedine Zidane has insisted La Liga will be the club’s “bread and butter” next season, their priority ahead of the Champions League after seven years with only one league title to their name. If Getafe snatch a Champions League spot, it would be one of the greatest shocks La Liga....