Man City is running away with the Premier League title, so what can the rest of the EPL teams still win?

Man City is running away with the Premier League title, so what can the rest of the EPL teams still win?

Checking in on Champions, Carabao, FA, and other competitions featuring Premier League teams

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Cesar Azpilicueta (l.) vies with Manchester City’s English midfielder Jack Grealish
Cesar Azpilicueta (l.) vies with Manchester City’s English midfielder Jack Grealish
Image: Getty Images

Slow starts, midseason swoons, and collapses are ways soccer clubs can blow a title race, but if you’re Man City, those don’t happen. Pep Guardiola’s team beat Chelsea for the second time Saturday, 1-0, and are now 13 points clear of the second place Blues and 14 points clear of third place Liverpool.

All they needed was one moment of brilliance from Kevin de Bruyne.

While LFC have two games in hand and could get within eight points once they’re all caught up, asking City to drop enough points between now and their game at the Ethiad in April is wishful thinking along the lines of any other EPL race Man City has won three of the past four seasons. Save for that magical Liverpool run in 2019-20, City has no chill. The Scousers tallying 97 points in 2018-19 and still losing out to Sky Blue is proof of that, so I’m not even going to entertain a schedule breakdown of where/when they could drop points to make this race entertaining.

For the people who want to complain and say “See, this is why a regular season should have a postseason, because if a team runs away with the league, there’s no drama,” that’s fine, but you can follow one of the many other competitions featuring EPL teams like I do. If you don’t want to do that and would rather scream atop your rage tower, that’s OK, too. However you cope is your business.

If vying for a Champions or Europa league spot and relegation race aren’t enough to keep your interest, let me see if any of these other competitions will.

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UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez
Image: Getty Images

Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and (of course) Man City are all alive and in the round of 16, which starts in about a month (Feb. 16). The path to the quarters for Chelsea and City appears to be a little easier — the former play LOSC, a team they beat twice in the 2019-20 group stage, and the latter face Sporting Portugal — than their EPL compatriots.

With the round a month away, Chelsea has time to mend the Romelu Lukaku situation (or make it worse). The Blues fiery start cooled off quick enough, with the relationship between manager Thomas Tuchel and the striker devolving.

Liverpool face Serie A-leading Inter Milan who just added a Supercoppa trophy to their locker via a 120th minute goal from Alexis Sanchez (Yes, that Alexis Sanchez) in a 2-1 win over Juventus in the final. Inter has scored the most goals in Serie A (51) and allowed the second fewest (16), and will most definitely utilize Italian soccer tactics — shithousery and bus parking — the longer the matches stay even.

Coincidentally, evenly matched is how I’d describe Man U and Atletico, who are both having down seasons by their standards. Silver linings are all United have left in the 2021-22 campaign and advancing in the Champions League would be a massive win for them because they sure a shit aren’t winning it.

Other than strong competition, the only case against City is Pep has yet to win this trophy as their manager, and he has a poor habit of overthinking and tinkering, leading to unexpectedly early outs or upsets in the final.

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Carabao Cup

Carabao Cup

Jürgen Klopp
Jürgen Klopp
Image: Getty Images

Chelsea have already advanced to the final, with a 3-0 aggregate win over Tottenham, but the other side isn’t yet set. Liverpool wasn’t able to take advantage of Arsenal dropping to 10 men during the first leg of their semifinal, drawing 0-0 in Anfield on Thursday, so the Gunners are in the driver’s seat, needing only to win, draw, or win in penalties if no goals are scored.

Perhaps LFC would’ve been able to capitalize had Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane not been away on international leave, but Jürgen Klopp won’t have them for the second leg either. Life comes at you quick when you have to rely on Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, and Takumi Minamino instead of two of the best/most consistent goal scorers in soccer.

Arsenal fans are a proud lot, and getting to, and possibly winning, the Carabao Cup would help morale, but as long as Stan Kroenke is still their owner, they’ll never be satisfied.

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FA Cup

FA Cup

  Emiliano Buendia andPhilippe Coutinho of Aston Villa.Image: (Getty Images)

The oldest knockout tournament in England is down to 32 teams, and half of them are from the EPL. Aston Villa, led by the ghost of Liverpool past in manager Steven Gerrard and newly loaned-out Philippe Coutinho, were able to avenge their 1-0 FA Cup loss to United with a 2-2 draw in EPL play Saturday, but they were among the two Premier League teams who drew and lost to a team in their league.

The other was Leeds, who were eliminated by West Ham. The two EPL teams eliminated by lower sides were Arsenal and Newcastle, who suffered embarrassing exits at the hands of Cambridge and Nottingham Forest.

However, the number of Premier League teams will fall to at least 13 after this round (Feb. 4-7) with six teams facing each other — Everton v. Brentford, Tottenham v. Brighton, and Wolverhampton v. Norwich City. The good news for clubs not named Man City looking for a little consolation hardware, is City will still be alive in the Champions League, so they probably won’t play their A lineup. The bad news is Man City is still alive and their B lineup is probably better than a lot of squad’s A lineups.

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UEFA Europa League

UEFA Europa League

Image for article titled Man City is running away with the Premier League title, so what can the rest of the EPL teams still win?
Image: Getty Images

Hate to end on a negative note, but there are no EPL teams left as neither Leicester or West Ham made it out of the group stage. My apologies if your team isn’t up for a participation medal, maybe next time you’re latching onto an EPL club, pick the one with the most money and best coach. That or try to enjoy the meaningless games for… the love of the game.

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