hit tracker Premier League title race has been harmed by international friendlies… there was no point in two England games – Newsmix.pics

Premier League title race has been harmed by international friendlies… there was no point in two England games

TEN games to go with the top three separated by a point — it really is the title that’s impossible to call.

But for me there’s an even bigger head scratcher than picking a Premier League winner out of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Harry Redknapp has slammed the March international break
England lost to Brazil and drew to Belgium as domestic football took a two-week pause

It’s working out why there was a need to play two international friendlies at this stage of the season.

Try as I might, I’m sorry, I just can’t see it.

I know it wasn’t only England and the Euros are around the corner but one fixture would have been enough.

Keep the players together for the same time, for sure, but two games? When they talk of hectic schedules, player welfare and all that? I’m not having it.

Don’t agree? Well just ask Pep Guardiola what he thinks, with Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday.

This could go down as the international break that decided the title.

Kyle Walker and John Stones were injured with England, while Manuel Akanji got a knock playing for Switzerland.

Akanji has since been given the all clear but, at one point, Guardiola must have thought he could be losing three of the back four who started against Liverpool three weeks ago, in a game that could have a massive impact on the title.


When it’s as close as this year, the smallest thing can make a huge difference.

If Pep had any need for a comb, he’d be tearing his hair out.

My days as a manager may be over but I still remember the feeling in your stomach when you hear one of your players has been injured.

There’s never a good time for that to happen but at this stage it means you could be without a key man at the most crucial time of all.

And the thing is, I’m not having it that Gareth Southgate didn’t already know his squad — probably his team in fact — before the second game.

He wouldn’t think ‘so and so did well against Belgium, so he’s in’. Yes, young Kobbie Mainoo has put himself right in the frame now, and would be in my squad, for sure.

But Gareth could have seen enough against Brazil. That would have told him the kid had the ability and temperament to handle it at the top level.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta won’t admit it but I’m sure he’ll be delighted Stones and particularly Walker are missing.

It always makes me laugh when people say how they want to play against the best. I heard someone do that when City star Erling Haaland had a knock this season.

Well that is absolute rubbish. You don’t wish a bad injury on anyone but as a manager you think ‘if a couple of their big names are out, we’ll have a right chance’. There were plenty of times over the years when I thought the same.

We all do it. You tell me anyone involved with Arsenal won’t be glad if Pep’s missing two regulars.

They finally ended a horrible run against City by beating them back in October, and I can’t see them losing on Sunday either.

Another Sunday, another draw . . . it’s getting to be a habit! But while a point at the Etihad is never a bad thing, that would do the Reds a right favour, because I think they’ll beat Brighton and end the weekend on top. Looking at the respective run-ins, I’d just about favour them.

The other two face tough Champions League games as well, while City also have an FA Cup semi-final.

I know Liverpool are in Europe too but there’s no Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in their way.

It will still be nip and tuck but they’re my new fancy for the title . . . this week at least!

Be Grand to have a National day out

Harry Redknapp enjoyed success at this year’s Cheltenham Festival

IT was a dream come true when my horse Shakem Up’Arry was a winner at Cheltenham, so maybe it’s too much to hope for another.

But that won’t stop me!

When the Grand National weights came out, Shakem Up looked too far down the handicap. But after the latest declarations, it looks like he could sneak in.

Last year was my first visit to Aintree, and what a fantastic atmosphere.

I’d love to go back with a runner which has a serious chance — and he certainly would.

If ’Arry doesn’t make the big one then he will probably go for the Topham over the National fences on the Friday.

I’ll have a chat with trainer Ben Pauling and we’ll see how things pan out but you never know . . . I might be a double winner in a fortnight!

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