Even though I’m partially dreading the football starting up again (as my team continue to linger dangerously near the relegation zone) I’m very excited to get back to what’s promising to be the most interesting title race in years.
Previous years have seen the title contenders be no more than two teams— 2011-12 saw the Manchester sides level on points, with Arsenal the next behind them by nineteen points, and 2010-11 saw United scoop it with Chelsea and City nine points behind them.
However, in 2013, there was no need for a second team as Manchester United absolutely ran away with it. It was a great send-off for the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, but the race for second place didn’t really get a lot of pulses racing, and why should it? Even finishing fourth gets you in the Champions League (although at a lower level.)
This year, the two horse race has been turned on its head.
With the slight rupture in form caused by multiple managerial changes, the league’s suddenly gotten interesting up at the top, and there’s any number of teams pushing to be champions. Here’s a look at who’s up there, and who might be wearing the crown come the end of the season.
Plain and simple, this is the season Arsenal fans have been waiting for.
Their patience and faith in Wenger’s slow, but long-term, team building is now paying off with one of the strongest Arsenal squads we’ve seen in ages.
I think they’ll stay top of the table, but although they are up there now, there’s almost nothing separating the top of the table on points right now.
Liverpool are currently sitting second having had a great run of form, including defeating Man United.
Their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal suggests they may not overtake the leaders anytime soon, but they look sure to qualify for Europe this year.
Southampton’s positioning at the top of the table is slowing driving me mad, but they are serving as a wonderful example of clever summer spending.
Southampton do have to play a lot of top table teams, so I expect they may see a slide in form soon, but they will absolutely finish in the top half of the table, and well done to them.
The return of the Special One has been enough to keep Chelsea but four points off of Arsenal, but they have had a rough November in the league – again.
The West Brom game was a disaster narrowly avoided, and the 2-0 loss to Newcastle was out of character and more or less unacceptable for a team of that calibre.
I am also still surprised at the lending of Lukaku to a team now one point behind them (largely owing to the aforementioned Lukaku) but when they’ve got him back, they will be absolutely lethal.
If Chelsea can learn to not throw away games, I think they’ll finish second.
Certainly not the start to the season everyone was hoping for, but isn’t it slightly refreshing to really see United put in some work?
Man Utd have clawed their way back up to fifth, and seem to be getting into their stride now. I think their start to the season, and dropped points from that period, will prevent them from winning the league, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see them in Europe next season.
Everton, Tottenham, and City are all but two wins from the top of the table, so shouldn’t be written off, but each have some work to do if they want to stay in serious contention.
The Toffees have done very well, and owe a lot to Leighton Baines and Lukaku, but can they hold on to their early lead, especially if old manager Moyes comes calling when the January transfer window opens?
Tottenham are still not as settled as they could be with their influx of expensive new players, but once they settle in, they will be a very strong team.
Until then at least there’s that great Soldado Pen player.
Manchester City need to stop throwing away games that on paper, they should be winning.
I don’t think they will however; they might need a season to settle into their new manager. Not to mention the fact that they are seriously missing their skipper.
What do you think about the title race this season? Who do you think will win it, and can City manage to qualify for Europe? Let us know below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.