Who do you think will be crowned as Champions of 2013-14 season? Had I asked the same question in the starting of the season, the answers would have definitely included Manchester United. But now, it seems genuine title contenders for this season are Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. So, who among these 4 will finish first.
As it stands, Chelsea leads the race but Manchester City are behind them by 6 points and 3 games in hand. Liverpool and Arsenal are both 4 points behind with a game in hand. Let’s analyze the factors which will now affect the title race and find out which team among the four is favorable to win the title.
INJURY TABLE: GUNNERS ARE GUNNED DOWN BY INJURIES
Arsenal is the worst affected among the four by injuries. Ozil, Wilshere, Walcott and Ramsey (all played a minimum of 13 league games this season) are in the injury table. Without these key players, it would be a tough challenge for Gunners. Next on injury troubled teams in Manchester City with Aguero and Nastasic (played a minimum of 13 league games this season) injured. But, they have a big squad enough to cover up couple of players anytime. Though Chelsea and Liverpool aren’t really impacted by injuries and are in an advantage, Chelsea faces a slight disadvantage due to double Red-Card (Willian and Ramires) in the last match against Aston Villa.
FIXTURE CONGESTION: BLUES GET THE BLUES
Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool has 11 more games (6 home), 10 more games (5 home) and 9 more games (5 home) respectively before Premier League ends. Chelsea on the other hand has to play 10 or 12 games (5 home or 6 home) before Premier League ends depending on their Champions League semi final qualification. Hence, Chelsea and Manchester City are placed with a packed fixture. Among this Chelsea have to travel a lot because of Champions League and that is a big disadvantage.
INSPIRATION: JOSE INSTILS TITLE WINNING MENTALITY
Though Jose Mourinho says he doesn’t believe that Chelsea are title contenders this season, he is the only manager with more elite league title winning experience (7 times – 2 in Portugal, 2 in England, 2 in Italy, 1 in Spain). Arsene Wenger (4 times – 1 in France, 3 in England), Manuel Pellegrini (0 times) and Brendan Rodgers (0 times) lack behind him in terms of instilling the winning mentality into their respective teams. At the end of the title race, this is an important advantage for Chelsea and could prove as a real difference.
CURRENT FORM: LIVERPOOL ARE IN RED HOT FORM
Liverpool are currently undefeated in 10 matches scoring 34 goals and are running really strong. They have scored only one goal short of their highest Goals Scored season’s goals tally. With Steven Gerrard’s form in new high levels aided by comrades Sturridge, Suarez and other vibrant Liverpool players, they are in a firm front foot. Arsenal’s recent form has been poor with only 2 wins out of their last 5 league games. Only if they are able to rediscover their form, they will be able to challenge for the title.
FIXTURE DIFFICULTY: CHELSEA HAS AN EASY PATH AHEAD
The above table is created by how the opponent has performed so far in home and away. From the upcoming fixtures for the four teams, Chelsea has only two tough fixtures but they have predominantly lost points to easy opponents than tough opponents this season. Manchester City on the other hand have the toughest fixtures in the rest of the season. Arsenal and Liverpool have almost same difficulty levels, but Liverpool have all the tough fixtures at home whereas Arsenal have 2 of the 3 tough ones away from home.
With these factors, it clearly seems Liverpool and Chelsea have an advantage in this season’s title race & Arsenal and Manchester City have a tough ride in this final sprint. It will definitely turnout to be one of the best title fights ever.
Share your views and opinions on the title race in the comments section.