It’s Time for a Champion to Emerge from the Premier League Contenders
It has been a strange season so far. The aura of invincibility that has emanated from Old Trafford for over twenty years hasn’t so much been lost but decimated by a number of embarrassing home defeats. The fallibilities that Manchester United have had for a number of years have been exposed repeatedly leaving them needing a remarkable resurgence if they are to have any hope of defending their title.
So with the holders currently suffering because of their own ineptitude; who from this year’s pack of contenders can emerge as winners?
Manchester City – 2.20
Chelsea – 4.50
Arsenal – 5.00
Liverpool – 7.00
Manchester United – 21.00
Everton – 34.00
(All odds posted by Intertops Sportsbook are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Manchester City seems the likely option right now. Their away form has been largely dreadful however their record at home is rather terrifying. At the Etihad, City score goals for fun and have torn apart several of their rivals this year, most recently Arsenal on Saturday. However now that talisman Sergio Aguero faces a spell on the sidelines, and with no proof that their away form blues have been completely cured (they have recorded just two wins in eight away games), City still have a lot to prove if they want to be champions.
The result of last weekend came at White Hart Lane where Liverpool humiliated Spurs and saw off manager Andre Villas-Boas in the process. I liked AVB (mainly for our mutual loathing of the Daily Mail) but results and performances have been very poor this season; while he probably deserved more time, the manner of defeat last weekend sealed his fate.
As for Liverpool, with the form that Luis Suarez is in this season anything will seem possible. They don’t have the squad to match their rivals but they do have the best player in the league right now. Ending that long title hoodoo would be a brilliant achievement but finishing in the top four seems much more realistic right now.
Another team close to the top right now is Everton, who are playing vibrant football with several talented youngsters lighting up the league. Roberto Martinez is proving himself to be a very good manager indeed which leaves us facing the rather chilling realisation that perhaps Dave Whelan was right all along.
So that brings us to Chelsea and to this weekend when Jose Mourinho’s side travel to Arsenal. The previously ‘Happy One’ hasn’t been too full of festive cheer recently. When he hasn’t been picking a fight with his best player, he’s been pulling his hair out at his strikers’ inability to do their job and actually score. He has lost twice to Basel this season and has only clung on to his unbeaten home league record by the skin of his teeth and some extremely generous refereeing.
The common consensus is that Chelsea have been very below-par this season and yet they are just two points off the top spot. While Chelsea have been lambasted, Arsenal have been lauded; and yet the Blues can overtake their London rivals with a win on Monday night. Arsenal have been great this year but now they are in a mini-slump which could reverse their earlier impressive work. They were blown away by City last week with old defensive concerns becoming prominent once again.
This is not the Chelsea of old that would routinely swat Arsenal aside. They lack the physical threat they once had, their strikers are about as lethal as your average butterfly, and their defence looks vulnerable. Arsenal can take heart from all this as well as from their own good home form. They will fancy their chances against a side that is very much for the taking.
I do not expect another high scoring game though. Mourinho is aware of his side’s weaknesses and will set up accordingly. It is game where both sides may be a little scared of losing; a low scoring draw may be the most likely result.
Betting Instinct Tip: Less than 2.5 goals is 2.05 with AllYouBet.ag