‘Tis the season for the title race to be wide open! Forget the Christmas festivities, the Premier League is all the entertainment you need because it’s all to play for as we fast approach the midway point of the campaign. Here we take a closer look at how last term’s top five teams are faring in the battle for the EPL crown…
The champions have now won the title in three of the last four seasons and continue to dominate the league. But why is this? One of the main reasons Manchester City have performed so well domestically over the last few years is because they have an outstanding team of players, including the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.
Since the disappointment of losing the Champions League final narrowly to Chelsea last term, City have added to their already star-studded squad. They signed one of England’s top talents, Jack Grealish, from Aston Villa for a record fee of £100 million in August but he hasn’t hit the net as much as expected, so the league leaders are also still interested in a January swoop for Spurs striker Harry Kane.
City cruised to Premier League glory last season as they finished 12 points clear of their closest rivals Manchester United — and it does not seem like they’ll surrender the title any time soon. They are currently four points ahead of closest challengers Liverpool and fired a warning to their rivals after demolishing Leeds 7-0 on Tuesday. Another possible bad omen for the chasing pack? The last time City topped the table at Christmas in 2017/18 they went on to win the league.
Last season’s runners-up are historically the kings of comebacks, so could they spring another surprise? Although Manchester United endured a trophyless campaign again last term — and have not won the league for eight years now — they’re overdue a change in fortunes.
United strengthened their team in the summer by signing Ronaldo, who’s scored 13 goals so far, and wonderkid Jadon Sancho for £73m, adding to their already impressive attacking line-up including Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial. Although the 21-year-old former Borussia Dortmund winger has failed to live up to the hype so far, he’s expected to flourish under interim manager Ralf Rangnick in the new year.
Four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane will help shore up their defence when he returns from injury, making them well placed to continue improving under the new boss, who’s won back-to-back league games since taking charge. While it’s frustrating to miss the opportunity to leapfrog Arsenal and West Ham with the postponement of Saturday’s clash with Brighton because of a Covid outbreak, they’re certain to be a different proposition for their rivals after Rangnick gets more time with his players on the training pitch.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are desperate to put the horrors of last season’s disastrous title defence behind them with league glory. The Liverpool boss has credited last term’s injury crisis with making him a better manager and the evidence speaks for itself as they’ve remained firmly on City’s coattails, even in the absence of star man Roberto Firmino.
They may have only made one signing during the summer transfer window, bringing in centre-back Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, but it was a key acquisition — and one that should prevent any repeat of last season’s defensive woes. Not that the Reds have been troubled that much at the back so far, with their best form of defence being attack.Embed from Getty Images
It’s hard to imagine Liverpool finishing this season trophyless as the unstoppable Mo Salah tops the charts for the most goals (15) and assists (9) in the league so far. Tonight, they turned up the heat up on City by closing the gap to just one point with victory over lowly Newcastle at Anfield — and set up an explosive title run-in in the process.
Leicester may have missed out on a top-four finish last season after a late defeat by Tottenham in May but they still had a successful campaign after beating Chelsea to win their first FA Cup. The Foxes got off to great start this term by winning the Community Shield at Wembley in August before things tailed off dramatically.
They would have been looking for revenge against Spurs tonight had their game not been postponed due to positive Covid cases within their camp. It adds to their injury woes as sought-after starlet Wesley Fofana will be out until the new year with a horror ankle injury he sustained in pre-season. He may be sidelined but the highly-rated defensive prospect, 20, is still being tracked by clubs including Chelsea and Man United.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are currently ninth in the table following a disappointing start to the season and the gap seems insurmountable. Keeping hold of his top talents and plugging their leaky defence will be key to Leicester climbing the table in the second half of the campaign. But in the likes of Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, and Caglar Soyuncu they have the talent to make life difficult for their EPL rivals. One thing is certain: you wouldn’t bet against the 2015/16 title winners turning things around on one of the sites at OnlineCasinos.
ChelseaEmbed from Getty Images
Last year, Chelsea performed very well as a team in Europe on their way to winning the Champions League trophy. The Blues also showed their financial prowess in the summer with the signing of striker Romelu Lukaku, who was brought in from Inter Milan for a club record transfer fee of £97.5m to add some much-needed firepower in their title quest.
Shot-shy Chelsea scored just 58 goals in the league last season but Thomas Tuchel’s men have been much more clinical having already netted 39 this campaign. They may have been forced to settle for a draw with battling Everton this evening but their goals have been coming from all over the pitch. With scorer Mason Mount also in impressive form, that makes the European champions a real danger in the title chase.
Defensively, they’ve been ropey recently but it shows character that they’re still within touching distance of the top two. Although there’s the small matter of their Champions League defence which may prove a distraction, Chelsea have the talent and grit to make sure the title race goes to the wire.