Premier League: The Unbelievable Title Race
written by Johnny Karp
This season’s Premier League title race seems the most exciting in years. Jose Mourinho described it as “unbelievable” and I’m afraid I have to agree with him this time, I can’t remember the last time we had just two points between the top five teams before Christmas. Who will win the title this season is anybody’s guess. I have checked most of the bookmakers on completebetting.com and they seem to think Manchester City have the best shot. Well, the Citizens do have some advantages but the other teams have their assets as well. Let’s try to make a quick round-up.
They are top of the table so it’s normal to start with them, even though being top of the table before Christmas didn’t do them too well so far. In fact, they have failed to win the league title in each of the last three seasons when they were top at Christmas: ended up second in 1990-91, came fourth in 1996-97 and were runners-up in 2008-09. But this time they have Suarez. The Uruguay striker bagged a mesmerizing total of 19 goals in 12 league appearances and also added five assists. His average rating on whoscored.com is 8.92, by far the best in the league so far. Gerrard, Sturridge and Coutinho also did a good job so far but I wonder what will happen when Suarez hits a bad patch…
The Gunners finally seem capable of mounting a serious title challenge, the first one in years. Their success so far is mostly due to Aaron Ramsey, 8 goals and 6 assists in 16 appearances, but Olivier Giroud also had an important contribution with 7 goals and four assists. Most fans hail Mesut Ozil but I think he is capable of doing more than 4 goals and 7 assists in 14 appearances. If the likes of Wilshere and Walcott will also deliver the kind of performances they are expected to then Arsenal can surely get the title this season, or at least come very close.
3. Manchester City
As I said, the bookmakers think they are the favourites and I guess they are right if you judge the team by their home performances, eight straight wins, 35 goals scored and 5 conceded. But the Citizens have been lame and tame away from Etihad Stadium, 3 wins, 2 draws and 4 losses, 16 scored and 15 conceded! That difference is quite strange to say the least. But now they have an in-form Aguero, 13 goals in 14 appearances, and Yaya Toure in the best season of his career (9 goals so far, a fantastic tally for a central midfielder). If Man City will sort out their away performances then I doubt they could be stopped by any of the rivals.
The Blues are a rather curious case, they have just one player in the current average ratings Premier League top 20: Eden Hazard. They didn’t have many impressive performances as a team either but they always seem to grind out the results. It’s a Mourinho trademark by all means but I doubt it will be enough to win the title. In fact, I think that if Chelsea continue like this they might miss out on the top four as well. They could go far in the Champions League though.
5. Manchester United
The reigning champions have to be mentioned even though they are in 8th place at the moment. The only United player that played like a champion so far was Wayne Rooney, he is like a locomotive that carries the whole team behind him. That wasn’t enough so far and it surely won’t be enough to win the title. They surely miss Robin Van Persie at the moment but they weren’t playing like true champions when the Dutch forward was fit either. I doubt that the Red Devils can defend the title this season but stranger things have happened…
That’s about it, the floor is now open for discussions. I’m looking forward to reading your opinions.