With yet more twists and turns in the latest round of fixtures many commentators are still unable to back a winner in the premier league title race. Mourinho’s thorough-bred analogy may have been wrung to death but his point this Chelsea team is growing in stature is a valid one. The strides the Blues have taken this year have been impressive, we’ve improved to the extent that, realistically, we can be contenders going into the final furlong. What will be the deciding factors to where the title is heading?
The last two draws in the premier league highlighted a bluntness at the sharp end of Chelsea’s attack. The combined league goals for Ba (1), Torres (4) and Eto’o (6) don’t compare favourably with anyone of Sturridge (16), Suarez (23) or Aguero (15). It is the threat from offensive midfield where Chelsea’s spark has so often come from and Hazard’s twelve league goals have helped propel us to the summit but we’ll need more goals from our strikers to keep us there.
Verdict: Liverpool and City are streets ahead in this department, Arsenal have been somewhat over reliant on Giroud’s ten goals and too often Chelsea have lacked a clinical finish to our play. With 48 goals scored a piece we’re neck and neck with Arsenal behind the frontrunners.
Chelsea’s is the most formidable defence in the top flight with only 21 goals conceded and an impressive eleven clean sheets. Arsenal had looked more robust this season until Liverpool blew apart those misconceptions by hitting five, four in the first twenty minutes. Liverpool however have conceded the most with 32 goals in total. A solid defence is the base for three points and so far this season this an area in which we have excelled.
Verdict: Chelsea ahead of the pack with Liverpool and then City at the rear.
Although there is no defining a straight-forward fixture, especially with so many surprises already this season, it can give an insight to where points might be picked up. Chelsea have a tough few weeks coming up with home games against Everton, Spurs and Arsenal and a potential six pointer away to Liverpool towards the season’s end. City have a run of tough away games at the end of March with Liverpool, Arsenal and neighbours Man Utd in quick succession. Arsenal away to Spurs and Liverpool at Old Trafford on a Super Sunday looks likes like it could be a pivotal afternoon.
Verdict: With plenty of games against the bottom half of the table and more home games against our rivals than the rest of the field the ground looks good for Chelsea. Liverpool will fancy their chances in a run of home games and City have plenty of winnable games before a tricky period.
The crunch time may be when the Champions League kicks in and the top teams have to fight on more than one front. Liverpool meanwhile will have no such distractions and can concentrate on the weekend fixtures, giving them the inside line. A lack of experience might play against them as the finish line approaches. We’ve already seen Arsenal wobble and their March form is not good. Manchester City have an experienced team who only clinched the title two years ago, Chelsea are a younger side but with the advantage of the boss having been and done it in every league he has managed in.
Verdict: Mourinho’s mind games and ability to instil a siege mentality are second to none, Manchester City though have the experience of going the distance. City by a nose.
The winner is … (of course) Chelsea!