The 2018-19 Premier League title is going to be decided by inches. That was true heading into Sunday’s matchup between Manchester City and Burnley. But it’s especially true afterward.
City rose back to the top of the EPL on a Sergio Aguero second-half tally that crossed the goal line by this much:
The official word is that the ball crossed the line by 29.51 millimeters, or 1.16 inches. Goal-line technology confirmed that it indeed had.
Without the technology, the assistant referee would have had a near-impossible decision to make from the sideline:
City’s prolific attack had been otherwise quelled by Burnley’s dogged low block. A handball in the box had gone uncalled. But Aguero’s goal gave the defending Premier League champs a 1-0 victory.
It took them back above Liverpool, back to the top of the league by one point, with two matches remaining – home vs. Leicester, at Brighton.
And the most remarkable aspect of it?
Sunday’s margins weren’t even the finest by which City has won a game en route to what will likely be back-to-back titles.
A title race of inches
The most impactful game of the title race remains the early-January clash between the two contenders. Man City beat Liverpool to cut into the deficit atop the table. But only after it avoided the most embarrassing of own goals by a margin slimmer than Sunday’s:
The distance between the back edge of the goal line and the forward-most tip of the ball that day? 0.44 inches.
So the greatest Premier League title race ever, between arguably two of the three best teams in league history, could very well be won by a combined 1.6 inches.
That’s the distance right now between a four-point Liverpool advantage and the one-point gap that should see City lift the trophy.
That’s one of many reasons why we love this sport.
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