Buried in an interesting ESPN FC article about the lucky breaks that will ultimately decide the Premier League title, regardless of anything that happens from this point forward, it really comes down to this date: January 3rd, 2019.
Liverpool, rolling, visited Manchester City, reeling. Had Liverpool won, they would’ve gone 10 points clear of City. Liverpool have seen their fare share of luck this season (see: @Everton, Tottenham at home). Unlike those games, this was one they could’ve and maybe should’ve won. They were statistically slightly better. They were just unlucky.
From the article:
Mohamed Salah drifted inside from the right, played a one-two with Roberto Firmino and slipped the ball in behind to Sadio Mane, who hit the post.
As the ball rebounded back into play, it dropped fortunately for City — between John Stones and Ederson. Unfortunately, both attempted to play the ball: Ederson was desperately scrambling back and attempting to dive onto the ball, and Stones tried to thump it up the pitch. In the confusion, Stones smashed the ball against the diving Ederson, sending the ball looping toward City’s goal. Stones, amazingly, managed to recover and complete a last-ditch goal-line clearance that prevented Salah from turning the ball over the line. Salah appealed for the goal, but goal-line technology revealed that it was 11 millimetres from being a goal.
Or just watch that clearance and what another inch could’ve done for the Reds:
Oh yeah, Manchester City back atop the table…
Relatedly, City rolled again today, pasting Cardiff City 2-0. If you’re a fan of the Etihad, Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden‘s performances would be especially encouraging for City’s chances at a quadruple.
If City continues to plow through Tottenham, Manchester United, and their mostly mid-table final foes, in the end, it’ll all come down to those 11 millimeters.