Football

Manchester City must put pressure on Chelsea in title race, claims Redknapp

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Jamie Redknapp believes Manchester City can still retain their Premier League title this season - beating Chelsea to the trophy in the process. 

The reigning champions are currently five points behind the Blues, who also boast a game in hand on their rivals. However, Jose Mourinho's side were lacklustre on Wednesday night as they crashed out of the Champions League on away goals to Paris Saint-Germain.

Missed opportunity

The gap at the top has only lengthened since the turn of the year. City went to Stamford Bridge on January 31st knowing a victory over Chelsea would leave them only two points off the pace with over three months of the season left. Yet a 1-1 draw in that game, coupled by defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool since, mean the gap at the top has only increased.

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Chelsea themselves have not been in particularly blistering form recently. Despite their Capital One Cup triumph over Tottenham, the west Londoners have dropped points at home to Burnley before the Parisians eliminated them from European action. 

Ex-Liverpool midfielder Redknapp believes that the midweek defeat could have long-term ramifications, as Chelsea look to secure their first league title since 2010. The league is the only focus for the club now, as they look to put a firm grip on the trophy.

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City's European hopes are also fading. They have the daunting prospect of having to visit the Nou Camp needing to score at least two away goals against Barcelona to win the tie outright, after losing the first-leg 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Before their trip to Spain, they visit struggling Burnley on Saturday evening - and Redknapp thinks it will be a huge setback if they do not win the game to put pressure on the league leaders, who do not entertain Southampton until Sunday lunchtime.

Questions of Pellegrini

He told Sky Sports: "For them to be on the verge of going out of the Champions League, out of the FA Cup and Capital One Cup, and five points behind Chelsea - who we saw on Wednesday aren't the real deal that perhaps we have been talking about this season - is hugely disappointing.

"If they don't win the league, there are going to be a lot of questions about whether Manuel Pellegrini is the man to take them forward and are this group of players in need of change.

"City have to try to put some pressure on Chelsea by winning this Saturday. It could go two ways for Chelsea after that defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. It could galvanise them and they could win the league or it could put a few doubts in their mind, so City have to try to at least put some pressure on them.

Rely on the Saints

"If they can win on Saturday and Southampton can get a result at the Bridge, then it is game on again, but we can't say that unless they take care of their own games.

"I think they have to win every game; for them to win the league, they have to go on a 10-game winning run. Are they capable of doing that? It doesn't look like it at the moment but they have the players to do it.

"If City don't win this game, then it will be a huge embarrassment to the club because of the situation they are in. There is a huge gulf in the quality of the sides and City have to win to keep the title race alive."

Chelsea have received a great deal of criticism for the way they conducted themselves against the French champions, none more so than from Redknapp himself. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off for PSG after a foul on Oscar, which saw nine Blues players surround the referee in protest. 

Costa concern

Diego Costa also shoved Marquinhos to the ground when on a booking, as questions continue to be asked about his temperament on the pitch. 

Mourinho will be confident that the Spaniard can turn it around however, and find his goalscoring form once again for the good of the club's title challenge.

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Topics:
Manchester City
Football
Premier League
Jose Mourinho
Chelsea

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