Vincent Kompany says Manchester City are happy to wait to seal the Premier League title, while clinging to the hope they can overturn a 3-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola‘s team would clinch the league with six games remaining if they beat Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, which would make them the quickest champions in Premier League history.
City captain Kompany said the derby against second-placed United was the club’s short-term priority but the players felt they had “unfinished business” against Liverpool.
“We’ve got one chance to do it in the Champions League,” he said. “In the Premier League we’ve got plenty of opportunities to do the job.
“We’ll make it (the Premier League) a priority…. It’s never been like this. You play the league and usually go on holiday but this one feels completely different.”
Kompany, who has already won two Premier League titles at City, said nobody at the club believed the European tie was over despite the chastening defeat at Anfield in midweek.
“We have to live with the consequences of this result but that’s what makes football special,” said the Belgium international.
“We had a very short period of time in this game where everything went wrong but the same can happen in the next game for the opposition. That’s what keeps us believing we can create chances.”
Liverpool’s three-goal advantage means if they score in the away leg next week City will have to come up with five goals if they are to progress to the last four but Kompany said they had the firepower to turn the tie around.
Kompany said City’s fans would have a big role to play in inspiring the team after experiencing the power of the Anfield crowd on Wednesday.
“Fair play to Liverpool – their fans, the club, the way they lived up to this event but it’s our time to do it now but I’ve seen it before so I’ve no doubt they can.”
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Another double gameweek is just around the corner but first, there’s one more round of derby infused action to navigate in the Fantasy Premier League.
With the fixtures in double gameweek 37 confirmed, there’s also that aspect to consider when making transfers for those who will not be using their Wildcard or Free-Hit chips ahead of that round.
Here are a few pointers to guide you ahead of gameweek 33.
Last gameweek’s captain pick was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and it proved to be an inspired choice. The Arsenal striker bagged a brace in a 3-0 win over Stoke City to score 13 points, doubling to 26.
The only part of his performance that disappointed was his selflessness as he passed up on a hat-trick, allowing his strike partner Alexander Lacazette to put away the second penalty.
While that will endear him to his team-mates, he definitely infuriated a few avid FPL managers with his noble gesture.
Since his arrival in the Premier League, he’s not only led the way for goals among the division’s strikers with five, but also for big chances, tied with Harry Kane on eight.
Aubameyang remains a certain starter for the Gunners in the league and guarantees freshness as well as he’s ineligible to compete in the Europa League.
Arsenal entertain Southampton at the Emirates Stadium who have kept just one clean sheet in the last 10 gameweeks.
HARRY KANE (12.7m) is back and being Harry Kane, he’s automatically a candidate for the armband again even though he may not be 100 per cent fit for Stoke’s visit. He does enjoy playing the Potters though, scoring eight times in his last four matches against Paul Lambert’s side. Meanwhile, Stoke have the worst defence in the league, conceding 61 goals this season.
MOHAMED SALAH (10.7m) is a doubt for the Merseyside derby having sustained a groin injury against Manchester City on Wednesday. Such is his form though – delivering returns in seven of the last eight gameweeks, including a whopping 29-point haul against Watford – that he remains an option, even if he is not likely to play the full 90. He scored in reverse fixture against the Toffees earlier this season.
JAMIE VARDY (8.9m) has been delivering steadily of late. He hasn’t managed a double-figure haul since the opening week but has scored in six of his last eight games. The England international has proved to be a consistent performer in recent times. Leicester have been in fine form and are creating chances but Newcastle have kept four clean sheets in their last five and therein lies the risk.
WILLIAN | CHELSEA | 7.1M
Willian has become a permanent fixture in Chelsea’s starting line-up and why not? In his last seven starts, the Brazilian has provided four goals and three assists. With West Ham making the trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Willian is certainly a player capable of scoring big. He’s managed four double-figure scores so far this season.
BEN CHILWELL | LEICESTER CITY | 4.4M
Not only does Ben Chilwell pose a potent attacking threat from left-back, providing assists in his last two games, but he has been deployed further forward on occasion and Leicester look primed for a few more clean sheets this season. He’s created seven chances over the last four matches and plays twice in double gameweeks 34 and 37.
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN | ARSENAL | 7.8M
Despite some impressive displays when the going’s been good, the Armenian has been a little hit and miss in the league. Two 13-point returns in big wins against Everton and Watford aside, Mkhitaryan has blanked in his remaining five league appearances for Arsenal so far, providing eight points. He is also set to miss out on the Southampton clash with a knee injury.
JUNIOR STANISLAS | BOURNEMOUTH | 6.0M
The Bournemouth midfielder was making his name as a superb bargain buy in FPL. With four goals and two assists in his last nine, Stanislas was on the rise as a fine budget midfielder. However, having gone off injured in the draw against Watford last time out, it has since emerged that he will be sidelined for the rest of the season.
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Liverpool will give Mohamed Salah every chance to prove his fitness for Saturday’s Merseyside derby against Everton.
The Egypt forward, who leads the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 29 goals, was withdrawn with a groin problem against Manchester City in the Champions League in midweek.
Klopp said: “I don’t want to give anything away and I want to wait.
“It makes no sense to talk about what we do with boys in rehab but we’ve tried everything to make him available. There are 23 hours to go so let’s see what happens.”
More to follow …