Premier League: Man City have more to give, but maybe not enough

Sergio Aguero has twice got through a Premier League run-in with Man City as a champion
Sergio Aguero has twice got through a Premier League run-in with Man City as a champion

Man City have a recent history of strong finishes, but have they left themselves with too much to do?


"Man City are the sole team in the past 13 years to have been outside the top two after 26 matches and recovered to lift the trophy, reeling in the far more battle-tested Chelsea as well as Arsenal two years ago."

Manchester City have been title favourites for most of the campaign. Indeed, many were proclaiming them champions five games into the season when a flawless start saw them backed at odds as short as 1.38, despite Betting.Betfair's words of caution.

Yet with a dozen fixtures remaining, they are as close to routinely-ridiculed rivals Manchester United in fifth as leaders Leicester, isolated six points away from each as a legacy of successive home losses to the top two, and have drifted all the way to 8.07/1 to finish first for the third time in five years.

There are still two pretty significant advantages on their side, the first being that they are the only of these squads with experience of what it takes to win the Premier League and how to stay cool in the heat of a run-in, having done so in 2011/12 and 2013/14. Arsenal last won the title 12 years ago, Tottenham haven't done it for 55 years and Leicester have never sampled the sensation.

The second is that they are the sole team in the past 13 years to have been outside the top two after 26 matches and recovered to lift the trophy, reeling in the far more battle-tested Chelsea as well as Arsenal two years ago. There is just one other example in Premier League history of a club coming from outside the top two to claim the silverware: the Gunners prevailing from fourth in 2001/02.

In both of those instances, the guys doing the chasing had a game in hand though, a luxury that isn't enjoyed by Manuel Pellegrini's men on this occasion. And this is the main argument against: that they are left having to earn four or more points than three other sides in a tight timeframe.

The easiest way to close such gaps is through victories in head-to-head combat, and yet the reason the margin exists is because they lost to Leicester and Spurs this month. Arsenal are the only team above them that they have an opportunity to take points off between now and May 15.

As alluded to, Man City do have greater run-in pedigree than their competitors, delivering at least two points per encounter across their final 12 in each of the last four seasons. Their average over that entire period is 2.17, which is better than Leicester's 2015/16 accumulation rate of 2.04.

However, the aforementioned 2013/14 example of them ascending from third to first represents the sole occasion in their past five completed campaigns or those of Pellegrini (including two in charge of Malaga and one at Real Madrid) that they have climbed any positions between weeks 26 and 38.

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