Manchester City are wrestling with an unusual opponent on their way to winning three titles in the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup: the English football champions are currently struggling with the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Because of the music competition, the Sky Blues' away game at Everton FC can only take place this Sunday (15.00 CET on Sky), City has one day less preparation time for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.
"I don't understand it, but I don't want to fight anymore," said City team manager Pep Guardiola. Before the second duel with the Royal on Wednesday (21.00 p.m. in the F.A.Z. live ticker for the Champions League and on Sky), his team "does not have much time, thank you very much for that. We can't play on Saturday because there's Eurovision or something like that in Liverpool. And apparently sometimes two important events can't take place side by side."
"Everything is still open"
For security reasons, Liverpool-based Everton FC is not allowed to play its home game parallel to the ESC. The event will take place from 9 to 13 May at the 11,000-seat Liverpool Arena, around six kilometres from Everton's Goodison Park stadium. City lead the English Premier League ahead of Arsenal, drew 1-1 in the Champions League semi-final first leg in Madrid and are also in the final of the domestic FA Cup.
Arsenal team manager Mikel Arteta believes his team will continue to have a chance of winning the Premier League because of the ESC and the schedule. "Everything is still open," said the coach of the second-placed team, who are just one point behind Manchester City with three games to go. City, however, have played one game less.
The prerequisite for the Gunners' further title hunt is a victory in the duel with Brighton & Hove Albion this Sunday (17.30 CET on Sky): "This is the decisive game. We want to beat them to increase our hopes and enthusiasm for everything that comes," Arteta said. When asked if his players would still believe in the title, he replied: "That's what we're here for."
In order to keep the focus in the final spurt, Arteta also told his players not to deal with contract talks until after the end of the season: "We must not lose sight of what the 'real deal' is at the moment," said the 41-year-old. An announcement that is likely to be addressed to midfield engine Granit Xhaka, among others. According to media reports, the former Gladbach player is said to be in talks with Bayer Leverkusen.