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Aymeric Laporte Insists His Side Have Nothing To Fear From Liverpool In The Premier League Title Run-In



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Pep Guardiola’s side went 14 points clear of the Reds when they beat Chelsea 1-0 in mid-January, but Liverpool would go top of the table for a few hours at least if they can beat Watford at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.

City go to Burnley later in the day seeking to retake top spot, before the two rivals meet at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday afternoon – their first of two meetings in a week including the FA Cup semi-final on April 16.

The tussle is beginning to resemble the title race of the 2018-19 season, when the pair traded blows before City took the title by 98 points to Liverpool’s 97.

With each club sharing a title in the seasons either side of that campaign, the pair’s rivalry has developed into a classic modern football duel.

“City can’t be afraid of anyone,” Laporte told The Guardian.

“[Liverpool] were a point behind in the same week, and in the end we won the league. We have this fight now and that’s good for the fans, and neutrals.”

When questioned on if City could take any inspiration from Liverpool, he added: “The football we play, no one else plays in the world.

“We’re an example of how to play nice football, to be superior in all areas. I think they’d like even part of our game.

“As for us having something of them: taking chances and benefiting from opponents’ errors a little more, because often we have the opportunity and don’t take it. We let the other team off. But there’s nothing to be envious about.”

City have seen that lead at the top erode in recent weeks following results such as a 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham and a goalless draw away at Crystal Palace, a match in which Guardiola opted to make no substitutions.

However, Laporte insists that criticism that came the club’s way following the results was at least partly rooted in jealousy.

“Although we can make mistakes, I don’t think it’s as bad as people say, or as some seem to want to make others think because they don’t like City,” he added.

“We’re humans, people have to understand that: just as we beat United, we lost to Palace. You can’t explain that with money.

“However much a player costs, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be the best. It’s not an exact science.

“We’re leaders, a point ahead of Liverpool. We have the best defence – and [yet] people throw defensive issues at us.”




Marlon Harewood reveals whether he thinks Nottingham Forest would survive if promoted to the Premier League




Marlon Harewood has evaluated Nottingham Forest’s chances of survival should the Reds earn promotion later this month.

Steve Cooper’s side face a trip to Wembley Stadium to compete for a top flight place against Huddersfield Town on May 29.

The former Forest player believes that the club will find it difficult moving up the English pyramid.

The 42-year old has claimed that the Championship club will need to invest heavily in the side in order to stand a chance of maintaining a position in the Premier League.

However, the former striker has faith that Cooper will be the right man to lead the charge, having done so well to bring the team into promotion contention in the first place.

“It’s always difficult when you move up to the Premier League,” said Harewood, via BETDAQ.

“They would have to invest, and invest well. 

“The first year would be a massive battle to keep themselves in the Premier League, no doubt they’d be written off straight away before the season starts. 

“But they would have to recruit. There’s no reason why they can’t stay there, teams have done it previously. 

“It will be hard but with Steve Cooper they would be capable. He’d be excited to put his plan together to make that happen – if hopefully they get there!”

Quiz: Can you name which club Nottingham Forest sold these 23 players to from the last decade?

Cooper has previously led Swansea City to a play-off final 12 months ago, but his side fell short by losing to Brentford.

The Englishman has never managed in the top flight before, so gaining promotion would be a big step up in his career.

Forest themselves have been in the second tier or below since 1999, whereas the Terriers were in the Premier League as recently as 2019.

The Verdict

While there are many exciting players at Forest, it is clear that the team will need investment this summer regardless of what division the side plays in.

The simple reason being that the likes of Djed Spence and James Garner, two important players under Cooper, will be returning to their parent clubs following the conclusion of this campaign.

That immediately leaves the starting lineup without two key players going into the summer, both of which will need replacing.

On top of that, if the club is promoted, there will need to be players with Premier League experience brought in to help the younger players adapt to their new competition.



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Alex Pritchard opens up on the importance of Sunderland’s play-off final on Saturday



Alex Pritchard

Sunderland head to Wembley this weekend for a game which they are hoping will lead them back up to the Championship after a four year absence. 

The Black Cats had a good season finishing the league in fifth position before beating Sheffield Wednesday over two legs to reach the play-off final.

They face Wycombe Wanderers who will be tough opponents as we’ve seen them frustrate MK Dons to make it to the final.

Sunderland will be desperate to win the game as they face their second play-off final in four seasons after losing to Charlton Athletic in 2019.

Alex Pritchard is well aware of what is riding on Saturday’s game and feels the responsibility in on himself and his teammates to get the job done as he told the Chronicle: “Everyone says that [a club of Sunderland’s size shouldn’t be in League One], but the reality is that the club is in League One and it has been for four years – that’s the situation.

“It’s up to us to change that.”

Quiz: 24 facts every Sunderland supporter should know about their club – Can you score full marks?

When were they founded?

The 29-year-old knows the importance of this game for so many people as he said: “If we can get over the line then we all know what it will mean to the supporters, to the staff, and to the city.

“We just have to go into the final with a clear mind, and if we play our game and work as hard as we know we can as a team and as a unit, I’m pretty sure we can do it.

“We have got one game left and we have given ourselves a great opportunity, but we know what Wycombe are like – they are a good team and they have got players who have done it before, so we have to go there, stamp our authority on the match, play our game, and get the job done.”

The game at Wembley is a chance for Pritchard to make some new memories at the ground as he admitted last time he played there for Huddersfield against Tottenham: “It didn’t go to plan, though, because I came off after half an hour with a dead leg! But it’s a great stadium, it’s a great atmosphere, so we have to enjoy the occasion, take it all in, but make sure that we get the result we want to make it a great day.”

The Verdict: 

As much as Sunderland’s history entitles them to be in a higher league, as Pritchard points out they are in League One and have been for a number of years now so if they want that narrative to be maintained then they have to get themselves out of the league and prove it.

The team will all be well aware of how much this fixture means to a number of different parties and will be hoping they can use this as motivation to go and get a result for everyone in Sunderland.

It’s sure to be a big occasion and a hard game but with their fans on side, they will be hoping this is the year that Sunderland finally return to the Championship.



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