Manchester City’s task in their final two games of the season is pretty much straightforward: win them and win the Premier League title.
And given the fact that both the matches are at home against sides who are in the bottom half of the table, Manuel Pellegrini’s team should be confident of their second league triumph in three years.
However, City captain Vincent Kompany has urged caution and insists that they must not get carried away. There have been enough twists and turns in the title race this campaign to make him aware that anything can happen as we head into the final week of the 2013-14 season.
‘Ultimately it's two games at home, but it doesn't mean anything’, the 28-year-old centre-back told Sky Sports. ‘You saw the Sunderland game and how tough it was. Hopefully we will just play like we can, we have a strong home record and we have goals from everywhere on the pitch’.
Kompany was alluding to City’s match against Sunderland on April 16. The Citizens headed into the contest on the back of a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, but were still expected to win against the relegation-threatened side at the Etihad Stadium.
And indeed the Manchester outfit took the lead after just two minutes through Fernandinho, but a second-half brace from Connor Wickham threatened to earn the Black Cats a shock win at Eastlands. Samir Nasri eventually rescued a point with an 88th-minute equaliser, but that was not enough for City not to lose control of the title race to Liverpool.
Now that the Citizens have wrestled it back from Liverpool, Kompany is keen on holding on to it. Aston Villa, who will be City’s next opponents on Wednesday, and West Ham United, who will visit the Etihad next Sunday, both are safe from relegation, but that does not mean that they will take it easy.
Both the Villans and the Hammers will be determined to end the season on a high and give their fans something to cheer about. They will head to Manchester looking to give a good account of themselves, and the onus will be on City to pick up the points. They will be the ones under pressure, not their opponents.
And pressure can be destructive.