Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Manchester City v. Aston Villa

In the race for the English Premier League crown, Manchester City has its own destiny very much under its control.  City trail Liverpool by one point in the standings -- but City have two games left, while Liverpool have only one.  Thus, if City win their last two games, the title is theirs.  City also have an advantage in goal differential, so they can also win the title with a win and a draw.

Here are the latest odds in England:

Manchester City:  1 to 12 to win the title
Liverpool:  9 to 1
Chelsea:  200 to 1

Anyway, on NBC Sports -- and what a year they picked to start carrying the EPL -- City is about ready to kick off its match with Aston Villa in a driving rainstorm.  City are the home team, wearing their traditional sky blue jerseys and white pants.  Aston Villa (who are from Birmingham) are the 14th-place team, and they are wearing some type of white and burgundy checkerboard outfit that looks as ridiculous as it sounds.  (The Guardian described it as "a claret-and-white quarters get-up that looks like something from Alice in Wonderland," which is not only better than my description, but also gives you a sense of how the Brits use different words than we do -- such as "claret" for "burgundy.")

So they've kicked off and no one has scored in the first three minutes.  Liverpool fans would take another 90 minutes of this.


  1. Still scoreless after 40 minutes. For every 10 minutes with no goal, you should assume that the nervousness and anxiety of the City fans doubles.

  2. Oh, my! It looked like a sure goal for City, who had a relatively easy shot in front of the net -- but booted the ball just wide.

    0-0 at the half.

    First time since February 22 than City hasn't scored in the first half of a home game.

  3. So if the game ends 0-0, the standings will look like this with one game left:

    1. Man City: 81 points (goal differential of 59)
    2. Liverpool: 81 points (goal differential of 50)
    3. Chelsea: 79 points

  4. 55 minutes gone:

    Man City 0 - 0 Aston Villa

    The City fans are now looking grim.

  5. Finally! In the 63d minute, Manchester City finally gets the goal it's been seeking throughout the game. A beautiful cross leads to an easy goal, and now the City fans can almost taste the championship:

    Man City 1 - 0 Aston Villa

  6. In the 71st minute, City bang in another goal to take a 2-0 lead. Unlike Liverpool the other night, they will not blow it.

  7. Villa fell apart after that second goal, and City cruised home with a 4-0 win. So Chelsea have been eliminated from the race, and Liverpool can only win the title if City lose at home on the last day of the season.

  8. Current standings with one game left:

    1. Man City: 26-6-5 (83 points)
    2. Liverpool: 25-6-6 (81 points)

  9. Well, good for City.

    Incidentally, I'm a fan of NBC Sports Network. In fact, if the Bullets weren't in the NBA playoffs, I'd probably be giving the NHL conference semifinals an occasional look-see because they are appearing on NBCSN.