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Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland: What does this result mean?

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Last night's 2-2 draw between title-chasing Manchester City and relegation battling Sunderland has left both clubs in a very different position from this time yesterday.

It initially looked as though - despite their 3-2 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend - City's 2twogames in hand meant that the title race was far from over, with the teams at the top potentially separated by a solitary point had City have won both games.

Now, however, City can only close the gap to three points behind Liverpool with their remaining game in hand, meaning that they now require Liverpool to be beaten and then count on having a superior goal difference.

The league could therefore hinge heavily on Liverpool's match against Chelsea, as the winner of this will be in the strongest position with City now sitting third. Therefore, it massively opens the door for Chelsea, who require victories at Anfield and from their other remaining games to do the business.

In turn, it also means that Liverpool are now in a stronger position knowing that surely a win against Chelsea would virtually assure them of their first title in 20 years.

Overall, whilst you can't ever write City off, it appears that they may have left too much to do this season. Now counting on Chelsea and Liverpool to lose seems a hope too far and I predict that the title is heading away from Manchester, most likely into the hands of Liverpool.

However, Chelsea's victory at the Etihad through a Branislav Ivanovic strike earlier this season showed that they can get victories at 'fortress' grounds, meaning that if Mourinho gets it right, a Chelsea victory at Anfield is not totally out of the equation.

Liverpool are always likely to concede and so, if Chelsea can keep a deep defence and not get overrun with Liverpool's pace, a single goal could nick it for the Londoners, with Demba Ba hitting form at the right time.

At the other end of the table, Sunderland look slightly stronger than they did at the weekend. The draw means that victory in their remaining game in-hand would bring them level with Cardiff on 29 points, just one point behind Fulham and three points adrift of safety.

It means that the race for survival is going to be even closer now as many had written Sunderland off, especially because of their tough fixture against City. It creates even more competition for the remaining places and means that the required points total could now reach the mid to high 30s as the teams battle to survive.

Personally, I can't see it changing much. Cardiff still look the weakest out of those around them and West Brom's inability to see out a victory could cost them dear as drawing from wining positions has become all too regular an occurrence.

Fulham have hit form at the right time and have the squad and renewed self-belief to gain some results and pull an unlikely escape out of the bag. They have to play Hull, Stoke and Crystal Palace who are all safe and have little left to play for, meaning that desire could shine through. This weekend's trip to Spurs is almost a free roll for Fulham, but damage limitation is crucial as goal difference could play a part.

Norwich look the most unlikely to survive, as gaining anymore points this season looks difficult with games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - who are all still in contention for either European places or the title - left to come.

Overall, I conclude that the bottom three will certainly include both Cardiff and Norwich, with either Sunderland or West Brom joining them. Sunderland will take heart from last night's game but have to win their game in-hand to really have a chance of survival.

West Brom face tough games against City and Arsenal, meaning that four points from their last 12 is realistic. I would say that Aston Villa and Swansea are safe because too many teams below them have tough games. Shock results could see them plunged back into the scrap, but it appears unlikely.

What is certain, though, is that the Premier League is going to experience four rounds of the most exciting and tense matches it has ever seen, as one of the tightest seasons in history comes to a close.

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Topics:
Sunderland
Football
Premier League
Manchester City

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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