The wait goes on for City but credit to Solskjaer's United

For the second day running, Manchester City thought they were going to win the title after 45 minutes' play in the games that mattered. Instead City spurned a 1-0 lead over Chelsea, Sergio Aguero having missed a penalty on the stroke of half time, on Saturday evening and then, yesterday afternoon, Aston Villa were pegged back by Manchester United in the second half at Villa to ensure the title race will carry over to next Friday evening.

One would imagine Pep Guardiola's side will seal the deal against Newcastle United at St James' Park but it is credit to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that his players have kept their city rivals honest for so long in the race. The Norwegian has come in for plenty of criticism since he was appointed in December 2018 but he has delivered back-to-back Champions League qualifying seasons and has taken United into the Europa League final later this month. And, yet, it all feels a little like Solskjaer is keeping the seat warm for someone else with a section of United supporters convinced that he is not the right man for the job – no doubt a disaffection that has been amplified by the fact that City and Liverpool, United's two biggest rivals have won consecutive titles with the former set to continue that trend. He deserves better.

Salah's golden shot

A little more than three years ago, Harry Kane successfully appealed to the Premier League's dubious goals committee after Christian Eriksen had been credited with the winner in Tottenham's 2-1 victory at Stoke City. The England striker claimed the Dane's free-kick had struck him on the shoulder on the way into the net. Cue social media opprobrium from Liverpool supporters outraged that Kane had closed the gap on Mo Salah in the race for the golden boot. Back then, Kane was vilified for not being a team player despite Eriksen remaining indifferent to the whole affair. Fast forward to this season and the Spurs and Liverpool front men are again locked in a battle for the golden boot.

The above vignette came to mind as a wasteful Salah took on, then spurned three chances with team-mates much better placed during Liverpool's 2-0 win over Southampton. It was almost as if he is more interested in scoring himself as he chases down Kane. Fancy that.

Debate over Sterling penalty should have been moot

Speaking of hypocritical responses, step forward Pep Guardiola. The Manchester City manager was outraged that his side were not awarded a penalty for Kurt Zouma's clumsy challenge(s) on Raheem Sterling in the closing stages of his side's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea – a result that delayed City's coronation as Premier League champions. He was right, it should have been a penalty but then again Sterling was lucky to be on the pitch. The City forward's studs-up challenge on Timo Werner inside the first 12 minutes was deemed worthy only of a yellow by Anthony Taylor, when it was the kind of tackle that has brought numerous other red cards this season. Sterling, of course, went on to give City the lead.

Big clubs have missed out on value

Ebrechi Eze is one of those players that you don't need a chief scout, analytics guy, head of recruitment or director of football for. A pair of functioning eyes was all that was required to tell you that the then-QPR midfielder was good enough to step up to the Premier League. Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds United, West Ham and West Bromwich Albion all looked closely at him before Crystal Palace took the plunge and spent £15m on the playmaker last summer. The identity of those clubs is telling. At a time when money is tight and there is stasis in the European transfer market due to Brexit it would make sense for the biggest Premier League clubs to assess more rigorously what is right under their noses. Furthermore, as Eze's wonder goal against Sheffield United at the weekend and his form in general has demonstrated, giving players games and the conditions to flourish is a way that will help them save some money and provide them with quality first-team talent is a no brainer.

Deja vu for Rodgers

There is a sense that imploding has become a recurring theme for Leicester – but more importantly Brendan Rodgers himself. It happened at Swansea in 2011 – although they eventually went up through the play-offs – there was a blown title race at Liverpool in 2014 and last season Leicester squandered a Champions League place despite having held a eight-point lead at one stage. Friday night's 4-2 defeat by Newcastle United was an inexplicably bizarre performance and it rekindled memories of season's past prompting Rodgers to say: “When it is near the end of the season concentration is everything and tonight we lacked that.”

Of course, Leicester's season could still end with an FA Cup triumph and a Champions League place but just maybe the collective eye has been taken off the ball following the speculation surrounding the Northern Irishman and the vacant manager's position at Tottenham.