Who will win the Premier League? That was a hard question to answer at the start of the season, and it’s just as hard now. That’s why this year will go down as one to remember.
Realistically there are three teams left in the title hunt; Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. Arsenal just have too many points to catch up, and with their injury list aren’t the same fluid team we saw earlier in the season. In fact they’re more likely to be looking over their shoulder at Everton than above them at the top three.
Also worth noting is that each of the three challengers have a favourite for the Player of the Year award. Could the home of the title also determine which of Suarez, Toure and Hazzard take home the individual gong? No actually, as voting finishes before the season ends. Still, interesting none the less, and those three players will still have a major part to play in which way the title goes.
Let’s take a look at each of the challengers individually.
Liverpool Top the table. City have games in hand, Liverpool have points on the board. What it does mean is that their fate is in their own hands though. Win all the remaining games and they will lift the title for the first time in the Premier League era.
From 6th last season to the top of the table with 6 games to go is beyond what even the most ardent fans could’ve hoped for. Now they’re there it’s win or bust, as another chance might not present itself for years. All the teams will come back stronger next year, and the addition of Champions League football won’t be taken in stride by such a small squad.
Who have they got left to play (away games in italics)?
West Ham 1-2
Given how they’re rolling at the moment, you’d not bet against them winning all the games against; West Ham, Norwich, Crystal Palace and Newcastle. So what of the two matches against their title rivals City and Chelsea? The reverse of these ties both finished 2-1 to the home sides, with Liverpool taking the lead in each of the matches (and some would say hard done by the referee in each as well).
That said, as the team at the top, you can’t look beyond your next game. Every game is a cup final now, and what better way to think about that, than when Liverpool beat West Ham (their next opponents) in the 2006 FA Cup final.
Bookies have Liverpool as second favourites at 15/8 with Bet365. If you took them at some of the bigger prices (matched at 44.0 on BetFair) then it’s probably a good time to lay.
Manchester CityAgain, Manchester City are in control of their own destiny, and with a little more leeway than Liverpool. They’re also the bookies favourites, as they have been for most of the season.
Beating Arsenal at the weekend would’ve put them firmly in the driving seat, drawing has given more than a glimmer of hope to Liverpool.
City of course have, probably, the best squad in the league, underpinned by a powerhouse midfield. Where they’ve struggled this season is when the midfield doesn’t tick and Aguero isn’t available. The league cup is already banked, but now it’s the league that needs to taking, else this team will have underperformed again.
Who have they got left to play?
There are more games for City to play, and that in itself creates potential problems with fitness. But realistically, there are only two games on the list that they will be wary of; Liverpool and Everton away. Liverpool will clearly do everything they can to beat City, but they’re fortunate that Everton should also be battling for fourth when City turn up (just in case anyone thought they’d throw it to prevent their city rivals taking the title).
Although they beat Everton in the return fixture, it’s a different game at Goodison, and this could be a title decider.
The bookmakers still have them as favourites, best priced at 5/6 on with BetVictor. Unlike Liverpool they’ve never been far from the favourite, evidenced by the highest BetFair match being at 4.5.
ChelseaShocked by a loss to Crystal Palace at the weekend, and the loss to Aston Villa the weekend before, Chelsea have stumbled at the very time that Mourinho would expect his side to be pushing on and consolidating.
The problems with the squad are apparent, there just aren’t enough goals coming from the strikers. That will almost certainly be rectified in the summer for big money, but wasn’t there an opportunity to do that in January when this season’s title was on the line?
Now they are left off the pace in the league, and the only club burdened (if you can call it that!) with European Football, starting with the Quarter Final first leg against Paris St Germain Wednesday 2 April.
Who have they got left to play?
15/2 is not the odds Mourinho is used to seeing attached to his teams at this time of the season, especially given it only puts them as third favourites. The remaining fixtures are probably the easiest, only Liverpool would be expected to put up a stern test, but they do have to deal with Wednesday / Sunday matches and that takes its toll on players.
Despite what the manager says, they won’t give up until it’s mathematically impossible for them to win it. That said, they’re probably now out of it. When they look back over where it all went wrong, the match against Crystal Palace will certainly get a mention.
So in summary, there are three worthy potential champions. Each has provided moments of class and frustration, but only one can be crowned the Premier League winners 2013/14.
We’re not going to predict who will win, but you can have a go at a premier league predictor and find out for yourself!
Plenty of football still to be played before the season is out, so that means plenty of value bets and money to be made, check the best of the bookmaker specials out on the Forum and our Today’s Offers Page.