Sunday evening’s Super Sunday clash between Liverpool and Man City was the perfect advertisement for the Premier League’s top teams.
The Anfield atmosphere was rocking as the Reds fans cheered on their side, while Pep Guardiola’s Man City team turned up looking to stifle the fans with patient, possession football that had precision and quality.
While the game played out to a 2-2 draw it showed that these two sides are the best attacking outfits in the league (and maybe Europe), but it raised question marks over their defences.
There was some brilliant passages of play from both teams, which showed the quality and skill that they possess in attack and all over the pitch. Liverpool’s first goal was a silky passing move where they came out from the back, before Mo Salah skipped past Joao Cancelo and slipped a wonderful pass into Sadio Mane to tuck away.
The attack was brilliant but the defending was shoddy from both Cancelo and Aymeric Laporte, who found himself in no-mans land once Salah began running at him.
Liverpool haven’t looked particularly solid all season either, and City consistently targeted James Milner in the right-back position with Jack Grealish and Phil Foden working in tandem to rotate between the left-wing and the left sided number 8 to cause him problems.
While the attacks shone brightly, it offered some hope to Chelsea that in the title race that while they may not be the best team in the race they definitely have the tools to win the title.
It’s a famous old saying – attacks win you games, defence wins you titles. Chelsea have got undoubtedly the best defence in the Premier League.
These three teams have already played against each other and the pattern in the games was visible for all to see. When Chelsea played City, they set up to defend and moved away from their usual system. They were beaten by the better team on the day as City dominated, but the previous three meetings between the sides saw Chelsea earn three wins.
When Liverpool hosted Chelsea, it was a very even and back-and-forth game which Chelsea led thanks to a stunning (and maybe a bit lucky) header. They defended well and never really looked under too much threat, even after being reduced controversially to ten men.
The three best coaches in the league, with the three best teams are all vying for the title. Manchester United’s lack of a top coach is hindering them and the results are currently showing that. So it’s currently a three-horse race and when the level between the sides is so close, it’s often the defences that come out on top.
It sounds really obvious, but if you don’t concede goals then you don’t lose games. Chelsea are really good at not conceding goals and they’re really good at winning games. Two results don’t win or lose you the league but they give a good indication as to what’s to come, and that’s that the title race is going to be very close this year.