Global Sports : City ‘can Still Catch Chelsea’

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Manchester City can still overhaul Chelsea and retain their Premier League title, Nigel Adkins has told Sky Sports News HQ.
The former Southampton and Reading manager believes Manuel Pellegrini’s men need to react immediately to their dismal 1-0 defeat at Burnley on Saturday but insists that if they do, the race for the title is very much on despite Chelsea going six points clear with a game in hand.
Adkins told The Morning View: “Of course City can still catch Chelsea. This is the time of the season where everyone gets a bit nervy. The clock’s ticking down. Why have they stuttered?
“They’ve got top, top players. They’ve got a future where they’ve given many of these players new contracts so they’ll be there for a while. The players have to perform every three days and they’re in the Champions League as well.
“It’s a great goal from George Boyd. Manchester City have set themselves up zonally in a straight line. Normally they’d have people looking for that second ball but they’ve not done that.”
Former City and England defender Steve Howey saw Jose Mourinho’s leaders fight out a 1-1 draw with Southampton at Stamford Bridge and highlighted the threat posed by Ronald Koeman’s visitors.
Howey backed referee Mike Dean on his decision to award Saints the penalty from which Dusan Tadic equalised. The former centre-back also highlighted an incident at Turf Moor where he feels City were unfortunate not to be awarded a spot-kick of their own when Pablo Zabaleta went down under Ben Mee’s challenge.
Howey said: “Chelsea wanted to bounce back. It was a major blow for them to go out. When I was watching the game I thought they were going to go from strength to strength but Southampton were excellent and caused them problems on the counter-attack.
‘Referee gets it wrong’
“It’s a penalty. Nemanja Matic has put his leg across the player and made contact with the player first so there’s the infringement straight away. Yes he got the ball but he got the player first so the referee’s right on that one.
“I don’t know why Andre Marriner hasn’t given it (the penalty for City). My gut reaction was that it’s a penalty and unfortunately the referee gets it wrong. There’s no doubt Zabaleta is looking for it but he’s touched him and it should be a penalty.”
With both Chelsea and City dropping points, Arsenal enjoyed a 3-0 cruise against West Ham at Emirates Stadium and moved to within a single point of second place in the process, while Manchester United beat Tottenham at Old Trafford by the same scoreline to lie fourth, a point further back.
Neither Adkins nor Howey were prepared to rule either Arsenal or United out of the title shake-up.
Adkins said: “It’s interesting when you look at Arsenal. Every year, there’s speculation about Wenger moving on but every year they end up in the top four. They always come with a run at the right time. It’s experience and knowing what he wants to do and sticking with his belief.
“They play so many give-and-goes around the penalty area. From Arsenal’s point of view, they might get a bad result along the way but they stick to the way they want to play and he’s not going to change that. They dominate possession and get great opportunities.
“You need to score goals to win games. Sometimes it’s going to be a striker who’s in form like Olivier Giroud is now and you run with him and you keep him scoring goals. Then you have another player who has a breather and he’s raring to go. It’s great he’s got two.”
Howey added: “It’s Chelsea’s to give away. I think Arsenal are in a fantastic vein of form. If you’re one of those players unfortunate enough to play against them on afternoons like that, you’re chasing shadows. They make you look silly and are scoring goals like that.
“They’ve still got a chance while it’s mathematically possible – the same as a couple of the other teams – but the form they’re in at the moment is very good. The manager is very pleased. He comes in for a bit of stick at times but when they’re on full form, Arsenal are a fantastic team.
“The tempo of Manchester United from the get-go was superb. It’s been a big bonus that they’ve got someone like Michael Carrick back. I think he’s an awesome player. His passing is superb and that was a great header. It was a fantastic finish.
“I imagine Arsenal and United are above City and Chelsea in the form table. Given the form, and I have to be honest – Chelsea looked a bit nervy yesterday. Southampton caused them problems. I don’t know whether they’re starting to twitch and look over their shoulder. I feel the pressure might be on them a little bit now.

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