Paul Merson had to be quickly corrected by Sky Sports anchor Kelly Cates after he suggested the broadcaster’s TV schedule could decide the Premier League title race.
It looks set to be a three-team shootout for the league with Manchester City aiming to defend their title against Liverpool and Arsenal. Only two points separates the trio at the moment, although the champions do have a game in hand.
Pep Guardiola’s side were first to play at the weekend, dispatching of Everton in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. Shortly after at 3pm Liverpool began their assignment and saw off Burnley. Arsenal though had to wait until the Sunday before they played, producing a statement win at the London Stadium.
Coming from behind is seen as more challenging however and the teams that are selected to play on the Sunday, rather than Saturday, are likely to face added pressure, which is something Merson pointed out.
Whilst on punditry duty he said: “I think it will come down to who starts playing first at the weekend. I really do. I think it’s a massive thing. Arsenal played today.”
Cates though was quick to deflect attention as she joked: “Don’t start people blaming us!”
Merson clarified his comments, adding: “I’m not saying that… but they’ve had to win today just to stay where they are. It takes its toll. I saw with Tottenham a few years back when Leicester won [the league in 2015/16]. They kept on playing second, kept on playing second…
“If you talk to Tiger Woods, who plays matchplay, he wants to put his ball on the green first and then put pressure on. It makes a difference. When it comes down to it, I want to play first. I want to play on Saturday morning. I want to play at 12:30pm. I want to… bang, get my three points and sit and watch.”
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
All three of the title hopefuls have their own motivations heading into the second part of the season. City are aiming to become the first time to ever claim the title of four successive occasions and continue their dominance of the Premier League.
Liverpool know this will be Jurgen Klopp’s final campaign in charge with the German leaving in the summer, hoping to do so with a second title success. Arsenal meanwhile want to go one better than last term and end a 20-year wait for a league triumph.
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