How Many Horses Are In This Race?

For me, this Premier League season has not seen any foregone conclusions. As we all remember, Manchester City won the title back in November of 2017 and the Top 4 was pretty much locked up a month before the seasons end.

This season has been different in the sense that Liverpool do not seem like runaway winners. Having not won their last 2 games, Manchester City have now reclaimed pole position and may even start to grow a sizeable lead of their own.

But what about city?! They certainly haven’t set the league on fire this year and are a little off their sparkling form from last year. Their loss to Newcastle will still haunt many of their fans, and their Christmas fixtures, including the loss to Chelsea, were certainly a shock to many.

Now onto the 3rd horse. Tottenham. As one of the previous pod guests called them, the perennial chokers. Well, despite their wicked injury list, lack of transfers and no place to home still, they’ve somehow managed to hang in there. And with favorable fixtures against Leicester City and Burnley on the horizon, one might think they can still keep pace for a while. The big “but” will come when they face the other Top 6 teams. They still have Arsenal at Wembley, City at the Ethiad, Chelsea at the Bridge and Liverpool at Anfield. One “might” argue that wins from at least 2 of those might see them as sneaky underdogs.

It may seem like a bit of stretch for the other teams at this point in time, but the Top 4 race is certainly not over by any means. The resurgent Manchester United continue their charge with 8 wins from 9 under Ole and look set to sneak into the Champions League spots at the expense of Chelsea and Arsenal. The Blues themselves are going through a rocky season with Sarri at the helm, comfortably beating Huddersfield but losing to Bournemouth! There’s no pattern it seems and with disharmony in the camp with players like Hazard, it appears they can’t map out a comfortable route to the finish line. Arsenal’s cracks have finally surfaced with Emery in charge. Their “new manager” phase has faded and the reality has kicked in. The struggles for them seem more apparent however. Their aging defense. Players like Aubameyang and Lacazette can only score so many goals before the defense allows more and as the season wears on, it’s starting to show.

So what’s the final order?! Most people will agree on things in groups. Either Man City or Liverpool take the title, Spurs lock in 3rd, and either Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal take the final Top 4 spot. But crazier things have happened!

 

-JR

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