Alan Shearer - no more twists in Premier League title race

Match of the Day 2 analysis

When you are chasing the title and you lose at home, like Chelsea did on Saturday, then you want the chance to respond straight away and prove it was a blip.

Blues boss Antonio Conte will want a reaction from his side when they play Manchester City on Wednesday and there is probably no better opposition for them to go out and show everyone that they are back on track.

It is a huge game for City as well, but not in terms of them catching the leaders - I would be amazed if Pep Guardiola's side won the title now.

I don't think City's top-four place is in serious danger despite three successive draws but, because of how much they have spent and who their manager is, they simply have to qualify for next season's Champions League. They cannot really afford to lose.

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I don't see any twists in the title race

Despite Saturday's defeat by Crystal Palace, I still think Chelsea will end up as champions. I don't see any twists in the title race.

Every top team has those days where, whatever you try, it doesn't work and you come up against a brick wall. Palace's defending was just brilliant and their whole team played to their maximum.

That result meant City could have cut Chelsea's lead at the top to nine points if they had beaten Arsenal on Sunday, and reduced it to six with a win at Stamford Bridge.

City could only draw at the Emirates but, even if they had won, I don't think it would have made any difference to their title chances.

Like Tottenham, they would still have been left needing to win all their remaining games just to have any chance of overhauling Chelsea.

I just don't see City doing that because defensively they are poor, and they give too many goals away.

The same old story for City

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Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City: We forgot to play - Pep Guardiola

City's draw at the Emirates was basically their season in a nutshell.

They scored two good goals to go ahead twice, and should have had enough to see out the game, but conceded two goals from mistakes.

Arsenal's first goal came from one defender, Gael Clichy, being caught napping and, although their second equaliser came from a very good header by Shkodran Mustafi, it came from a corner and was definitely preventable.

It was a set-piece and City should not be vulnerable in that situation, but they are.

As impressive as they can be going forward, those problems at the back are the reason they will not win the Premier League this season.

It was a missed opportunity, because of Arsenal's poor form - they had lost four of their previous five league games - and also because of how open Arsene Wenger's side were, particularly in the first half.

I was expecting the Gunners to sit in, try to keep it tight and just try to play themselves into the game.

Instead they went out and were so open that City were ahead after five minutes, and were back in front two minutes after Arsenal made it 1-1.

City had the best opportunities to have won the game, especially in the first half, but if feels like I have been saying the same thing about them all season.

What do City need in the summer?

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Man City 'not strong enough in the box'

I know Guardiola often says in his interviews that they have dropped points because of missed chances but, in reality, he will know that defensively they have got to improve if they are going to win the Premier League next season.

City have got better in some areas as the season has gone on but no matter which formation or players Guardiola has tried at the back, I have not seen any overall improvement there.

John Stones had a decent game again at the Emirates, and was probably the pick of the bunch from their back four, but he cannot do it all on his own.

They have been searching for answers at centre-half for a number of years and still are - I don't think it takes a genius to work out that Guardiola needs to buy a new one in the summer.

He needs a goalkeeper too, and some full-backs, so we are talking three defenders in total.

I know Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna were injured for the Arsenal game, which is why he had to try Jesus Navas at right-back.

But the continuous change of personnel in City's defence tells us that he hasn't found the right answer yet.

Pep needs some silverware - and soon

There were huge expectations when Guardiola arrived at City because of what he achieved with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

He is one of the best managers in the world and I am pretty sure he will win trophies at City too but, the longer he goes without winning anything, the more pressure there will be because of his reputation and the money that City have spent.

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The Premier League Show: Antonio Conte interview

Like Guardiola, this is Conte's first season in England, and the Chelsea boss looks set to start by winning the league.

It is a great achievement but not being in Europe has definitely helped Conte, and he has been fortunate with injuries too. Chelsea have played fewer games than all of their title rivals, and have not had to test the depth of their squad.

Guardiola has not had that luxury, but I think he will still be desperately disappointed if he finishes his first season at City empty-handed, which is why the FA Cup has become very important for City now.

City will have to get past Arsenal to reach the final and I am expecting another very open game when they meet again at Wembley on 23 April.

Based on what we have seen from them this season, both teams will probably score some goals and defend badly - and who wins will come down to whose forwards perform best on the day.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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