Tue 2 Feb by Mark Gleeson
Manchester City have crept almost stealthily up the Premier League table to move into an advantageous situation and from here potentially go on and reclaim their title. They are three points clear at the top, and with a game in hand, and with a trip to Anfield at the weekend are in position to move strongly forward and take the title for a third time in four years. Of course, there is a still a long way to go in the campaign and plenty more twists and turns in the road but the early season stumbling and injury woes of Pep Guardiola’s team look something of the past, even without the injured Kevin De Bruyne. Their win on Saturday over Sheffield Wednesday marked a 12th successive victory in all competitions and at Turf Moor tomorrow (WED) night, they will be expected to make it 13 as the take on Burnley away. Then comes the crunch game at Liverpool – a crossroads for both teams. The Reds have looked back to their devastating best in their last two games, both away in London, particularly amid an extensive injury crisis. Sadio Mane, however, is expected back for the visit of City at the weekend after missing out against West Ham on Sunday where Liverpool clearly demonstrated they are not to be written off. Jurgen Klopp’s men warm up for the visit of City with a home clash against Brighton & Hove Albion, who sprung a surprise win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but have only ever beaten the Reds once before – almost 40 years ago. That game is also tomorrow. Tonight (TUES), Manchester United could temporarily join their neighbours on 44 points when they host Southampton. Their opponents have displayed mercurial form this season – capable of decapitating the top teams but also guilty of dropping silly points against ordinary opposition. TAB Soccer 6 punters will find the Premier League midweek programme complimented by cup action in South Africa, Germany and Italy.
One banker must surely be Nedbank Cup holders Mamelodi Sundowns, as they begin the defence of their crown at home to Stellenbosch in the first round in Pretoria tomorrow (WED).