With Liverpool's inability to overcome Leicester City on Wednesday, the city of Manchester launched a crucial week in the Premier League title when Arsenal is hosted on Sunday in St Etihad.
MANCHESTER, England: With Liverpool's inability to overcome Leicester City on Wednesday, a decisive week in the Premier League title began in Manchester City when they hosted Arsenal on Etihad on Sunday.
City Challenge 2-1 defeat in Newcastle on Tuesday offered Liverpool the chance to open a seven-point lead, but on Juergen Klopp's side, only the point where Leicester was home was 1-1.
It leaves Merseysiders five points clear, but this advantage should be reduced to just two points before they play West Ham on Monday, provided that City can take care of the business against Unai Emery's Gunners.
It is the first of three main games in seven days to defend champions who travel to Everton on Wednesday to reorganize and then host Chelsea on Sunday.
"The next week will be tough with Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea. I know the challenge is great. If we want to go as a club, we have to accept this challenge," said head Pep Guardiola.
Although Liverpool has the highest ranking, 14 games remain and, as the average race round appeared, the unpredictability of the league means that there may be many turns coming.
"We are in January and we are behind the leaders, but there are a lot of titles and points to play. We have a lot of games left – we're not in April or May, and there can be a lot of game instead of giving up," said Guardiola.
West Ham, who faces London's stadium on Monday in Liverpool, is in bad shape after AFC Wimbledon lost 3-0 to Wolves on Tuesday after the FA Cup.
Liverpool sometimes worked against Leicester with a high-speed attack that was unable to get into the top gear, but Captain Jordan Henderson, who was on the right, knows he has no time for that result.
"We know that we can play much better and we need to improve the next game," he said.
"We have to return quickly. We have a few more days to recover and then prepare for the West Ham game, so we have to be ready because it's another difficult game in the Premier League."
This is an intense phase of the campaign, both for the first to return to European events next month, and for the Champions League Champions League Champions League, increasing their load.
Tottenham has only two points behind the city, and they still think they can still take a surprise with the late season's slope to the title.
Spurs could move to the city a second time, at least 24 hours, if they could beat Newcastle home on Saturday.
It's not less strained at the bottom, where 16th place in Southampton visits Burnley, which is the place below Saturday.
The Crystal Palace, which is on the same level as the two teams, is located at the bottom of Fulham, whose fight against the fall has increased Tuesday's 4-2 victory in Brighton.
(Report by Simon Evans; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)