Brendan Rodgers will be finding the sight of Mohamed Salah clutching his new Chelsea shirt somewhat irksome this morning. On Saturday Rogers had still not given up on the notion of bringing the lightning-fast Egyptian winger to Anfield; by Sunday his dream was dead in the water.
While it might take Salah a while to adjust to Premiership life after a couple of years with Swiss Super League side Basel, he’s clearly a signing with an eye to the future. The 21 year old is a creative attacking midfielder, with experience of scoring against both Tottenham and Chelsea in the Europa League. With Mata gone and Salah about to start finding his feet, here’s a look at the odds of Chelsea topping the table in May.
The best price you’ll get right now is around 13/5, with Manchester City favourites at up to 11/10, and Arsenal the bookies’ third choice at between 10/3 and 4/1. At the moment it’s looking like a three-horse race, price-wise, with Liverpool an unfancied fourth at up to 18/1.
The fixture list from the end of March onwards isn’t looking too distressing for Chelsea, with a trip to Anfield on 26th April surely the sternest test. Home games against Stoke, Sunderland and Norwich in April and May ought to yield a decent haul of points. Even earlier in March, a visit from Tottenham (a side you can get 108/1 on right now to win the league) and a day out at Craven Cottage don’t look too distressing to any but the most nervous of Chelsea fans.
More tricky will be City away on 3rd February. Their home form has been extraordinary (despite allowing Watford to slip two past them in the FA cup on 25th January). Current odds on Chelsea getting all three points at the Etihad are hovering around 7/2, with City at 10/11. A visit from league leaders Arsenal is another potential bump in the road to look out for on 22nd March. While Mourinho has an unbeaten record against Arsene Wenger, this Arsenal team has a touch more bite than in recent seasons.
Much will depend on the run-ins of City and Arsenal. The north London side have a tough February, with back to back games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Liverpool again (FA Cup) and Bayern Munich (Champions League). March isn’t a lot easier as they face Bayern again, then Spurs, then a trip to Stamford Bridge, then City. Arsenal’s last six Premiership games, however, don’t look too taxing.
City’s final six include matches at Anfield and Goodison Park and represent perhaps the toughest run-in of the three teams. Six games in March, not including their postponed game against United, include a League Cup final, Barcelona away in the CL and Arsenal away. It looks like it’ll be the beginning of April before the dust raised by the scramble for first begins to settle.