English Premier League title chase – Who’s In or out?
This is definitely, in my opinion, one of the most interesting, competitive and unpredictable English premier league battles in a very long time.In the past the Christmas period and its congested match schedule had produced potential clear favourites to take the title, and in most occasions the team that came out of the Christmas period leading the pack, or second at worst, carried the day come coronation in May.
The year 2017 is, however, refusing to follow tradition as we have a “big six” potential suitors to the crown in Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester united.
Let’s take a look at each club’s situation and their real chances of winning the Premier League:
MANCHESTER CITY: Pep Guardiola’s team started off all guns blazing with maximum points after five games, only for the reality of the Premier league to catch up with them and cut them down to earth. True to tradition, Man City under Guardiola have had the most ball possession of all teams in the premiership. There is just one problem though; this is the premiership, where nothing is won in advance.
To have a chance at becoming champions, Man city need to improve on their defence tactically and above all personnel-wise. Without pointing fingers, it is clear that this defensive section is where City have struggled against the big guns like Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. They need to buy “real” defenders.
An improvement in their disciplinary stance would help too and hopefully Kun Agüero will finally stay healthy and on the pitch long enough to make the difference we all know he can!
MANCHESTER UNITED After a poor start Jose Mourinho’s boys are knocking on the doors of Europe, with Pogba finally looking like he has been able to shrug off the world’s most expensive player burden, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic hitting form. Ibrahimovic is currently joint second top scorer of the EPL with 13 goals and loads of assists.
To win the league they need a spirited run of positive results, especially against the top five teams ahead of them.
Unfortunately the title charge for Man United does not only depend on what Man United does, but more on what the other leaders fail to do. There is a slight chance though.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: This is a pleasant and refreshing team to watch as they seem to be at their best when they play the big guns of the EPL.
To be crowned champions, Pochettino and his boys would need not only to continue winning against the big guns, but stop dropping precious points against the smaller teams on the table. If they manage that, then they might just win it.
LIVERPOOL: Jürgen Klopp’s boys are impressive, energetic, mobile and unbelievably aggressive.
Liverpool are clearly not only enjoying success thanks to hard work, but also the club’s absence from the energy sapping European scene, which helps.
To be crowned champions they need to not only continue their positive runs versus the other title contenders, but stop dropping points to relegation strugglers on the league table.
The eventual absence of my favourite Liverpool player, Sadio Mané for the Africa Cup of Nations and the eventual state in which he might return could be a decisive point in their fortunes.
Injuries, which have often accompanied Klopp’s teams, could also hinder their ambitions. This team is one that I would not advice anyone to bet against in the title chase!
ARSENAL: Sanchez! Sanchez!! Sanchez!!! 13 goals, several assists, playmaker and team motivator. Arsenal’s chances of finally lifting the trophy hinges, in my opinion, a lot around this exceptional player.
Arsenal’s nonstop dropping of points against less equipped teams in mysterious ways has to stop if they want to be crowned champions and simultaneously, they have to start beating the big boys.
Shkodran Mustafi’s good health is paramount to the defensive success of Arsenal coupled with the necessity to make Sanchez happy.
CHELSEA: Antonio Conte’s boys have a sizeable lead over second placed on the table and defensively, I feel, Chelsea is the best performing team of the top six. With a rejuvenated and less erratic spear header in the Premier league’s top scorer, Diego Costa, with 14 goals, Chelsea are looking like sure bets to lift the most coveted league title in the world.
Furthermore, with a star-studded team with no distractions from the European Champions league, Chelsea’s players are set to have fresh legs when the final stretch kicks in.
Conte’s 3-4-3 system is definitely raking in points, but will the others find the antidote to this? Is the recently evident misunderstanding on the pitch by certain players as they lost to Tottenham hotspur a sign of impending cracks in the fortress?
I personally believe that this is a title for Chelsea to lose, as with N’Golo Kanté they have an arsenal that other rivals lack and they just need to stay focused and the title should be theirs.