Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pennant Fever

On Tuesday, Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-0.  Then today, Liverpool beat Everton 2-0.  But the Reds still trail Manchester City, who beat Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 on Wednesday, and then beat Watford 5-1 on Saturday.  So that top of the English Premier League looks like this:

1.  Man City:  25-3-5 (80 points)
2.  Liverpool:  24-2-7 (79)
3.  Chelsea:  19-5-8 (65)
4.  Arsenal:  19-11-3 (60)
5.  Tottenham:  18-11-4 (58)

But as we previously mentioned, Liverpool eliminated Man City 3-2 in the F.A. Cup Semi-Final.  So the F.A. Cup Final, on May 14, will feature the following matchup:

Chelsea v. Liverpool

And, of course, Liverpool and Man City are both still alive in Champions' League.  The semi-finals of the Champions' League look like this:

Manchester City (ENG) v. Real Madrid (ESP) (1st leg on April 26, 2d leg on May 4)
Liverpool (ENG) v. Villarreal (ESP) (1st leg on April 27, 2d led on May 3)

The only other significant European league that's still up for grabs is Serie A in Italy, where Milan leads Inter by two points, but Inter has a game in hand.  Rangers still has an outside shot in Scotland, where they trail Celtic by six points.  Here are the other leagues of interest:

Spain:  Real Madrid leads by 15 points
Germany:  Bayern Munich leads by 12 points
France:  Paris-Saint Germain leads by 13 points

Bayern Munich is going to win the German league for the tenth year in a row.  The German press has started to wonder about whether it's a problem to have the same team when every year, forever, but I wouldn't expect significant changes over there any time soon.


  1. Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4-3 in a thriller up in Manchester, but Real Madrid will feel very good about its chances during the second leg in Madrid.

  2. Liverpool rolled over Villareal 2-0 in the first leg at Liverpool. If the final ends up being two English clubs for the second year in a row, and the third year in the last four, I predict that we'll see some rule changes.

  3. Liverpool went to Newcastle and won 1-0, but then Manchester City went to Leeds and won 4-0. So Man City remains on top:

    Man City: 26-3-5 (83 points)
    Liverpool: 25-2-7 (82)

  4. Each team has four League games left. Here are Liverpool's games, with its opponents records in parentheses):

    May 4: TOTTENHAM (18-11-4)
    May 10: at Aston Villa (12-17-4)
    May 17: at Southampton (9-13-13)
    May 22: WOLVERHAMPTON (15-15-4)

  5. And here are City's last four games:

    May 8: NEWCASTLE (11-14-10)
    May 11: at Wolverhampton (15-15-4)
    May 15: at West Ham Utd (15-12-7)
    May 22: ASTON VILLA (12-17-4)

  6. To be honest, I would be really surprised if either Man City or Liverpool didn't win its last four games.

  7. We've seen this before. In the 2018-19 season, both teams came blazing down the stretch, with Man City leading by one point. They both won out, and the final standings looked like this:

    1. Man City: 32-4-2 (98 points)
    2. Liverpool: 30-1-7 (97)

  8. It would be agonizing for Liverpool to lose the league by one point to Man City in the last pre-COVID season, and then lose to the same team by the same margin in the first post-COVID season. But that may be where it ends up.

  9. On the other hand, Liverpool won the Champions' League in 2018-19, and may do so this year. Liverpool has six European championships, and City has none.

  10. Liverpool beat Villarreal 3-2 yesterday, to win the Champions' League Semi-Final 5-2 on aggregate. They will play the winner of Real Madrid and Manchester City, who play today. That will be one of the games of the year.

  11. After 90 minutes in Madrid, Manchester City led 1-0 on the day and 5-3 in the match. But Real Madrid scored two goals in injury time to tie the match, and then picked up the winner on a penalty kick in extra time. Real Madrid wins the semi-final 6 to 5. Two of Real Madrid's six goals, including the match winner, came on penalty kicks. City was awarded no penalty kicks.

  12. So the Champions' League final will be Real Madrid against Liverpool. Liverpool has reached the final of both the FA Cup and the Champions' League, while Manchester City is out of both competitions. On the other hand, City has the inside track to the English Premier League title.