Why the Alexis Sanchez transfer can change the 2017/18 PL season

Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Manchester. It looks like Henrikh Mkhitaryan is off to London. And that might change the destiny of the Premier League season.

Manchester City has won the league title, right? Well, José Mourinho is doing everything to make sure Manchester United stays in the race. Getting Alexis Sanchez in January, when you could’ve snagged him way cheaper in the summer transfer window, means United hasn’t given up on the Premier League trophy.

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The gap is 12 points. There is 15 matches left. Easy math says United has to win at least four more games than Manchester City on those 15 matches. If you asked me a week ago, I’d say «impossible». But Man City lost to Liverpool. Man United won – and they’re about to get one of the best players in the league.

Can Manchester United win their remaining 15 matches after getting Alexis? Obviously not, but it’s all about making City believe they can. With a big signing like that at the red side of town, combined with the recent loss to Liverpool, and Jesus injury… Manchester City will start looking over their shoulder, and that is when you stumble and fall.

They have Newcastle this weekend, and Rafa Benitez knows how to handle the top teams. A Sterling goal was the only thing to separate the two teams in December. Burnley away, Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea. The schedule isn’t easy coming up. By sending Henrikh Mkhitaryan the other way, they remove the «toxic Alexis» from the Arsenal locker room, while at the same time giving them a top class player who could be the difference in the game between City and Arsenal. Obviously, that could also come back and bite United in April.

Remaining matches (*top 9 teams bold:
Man City Man United
Newcastle (H)
West Brom (H)
Burnley (A)
Leicester (H)
Arsenal (A)
Chelsea (H)
Stoke (A)
Brighton (H)
Everton (A)
Man United (H)
Tottenham (A)
Swansea (H)
West Ham (A)
Huddersfield (H)
Southampton (A)
Burnley (A)
Tottenham (A)
Huddersfield (H)
Newcastle (A)
Chelsea (H)
Crystal Palace (A)
Liverpool (H)
West Ham (A)
Swansea (H)
Man City (A)
West Brom (H)
Bournemouth (A)
Arsenal (H)
Brighton (A)
Watford (H)

The difference between United and City’s top 9 fixtures is that the difficult matches are clustered together for City, while United got them spread out. Both Newcastle, Burnley, Stoke, Everton and Leicester could force a draw against City. United must obviously perform like never before, and a loss in the Champions Leaugue/FA Cup might actually help them in that direction.

Manchester City is still in the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League. They will have important matches against both Arsenal and Chelsea, with the final Champions League match against Basel in-between. I just can’t see City both advancing in the Champions League, and beating Arsenal AND Chelsea the same week. So that’s one loss.

Then they’ll have Manchester United. The big game. If Man United is 9 points behind at that point, a win could give the title race a big spark. And I trust José Mourinho to have something up his sleve for that match. That’s two losses.

Coming from a loss, trying to recover against Tottenham away. Hard. Three losses.

If they draw a few too, then anything could happen the last couple of rounds. We might get a fun race for the Premier League title after all, thanks to the Alexis Sanchez transfer.

Another «Aguero, Aguero, Aguerooo»?


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WRITTEN BY MATTIS HOLT, SPORTS WRITER AND VALUELIVE SHOW HOST

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