This year’s Premier League season has been one full of surprises and five months into the season the three front runners for the title are Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. The latter two were expected to be in this position, but Arsenal have surprised their rivals with a solid title bid so far. With 16 league games left, there is a lot that can happen before the Premier League champion is crowned. At this stage, it is hard to say who out of these three teams have the best chance, but it seems as though it could go down to the wire. This article looks at the reason why each team will win the title, and why they will not.
Currently sitting at the top of the league, Arsenal have shown great form since the beginning of 2013. The signing of Mesut Özil galvanised the whole squad, giving them a lift and the belief to once again challenge for the title. After getting through a tricky Christmas period, the Gunners have won 16, drawn 3 and lost 3, giving them a total of 51 points. In the process they have the best defensive record in the league.
Why they can win the league:
- The Gunners’ defence has been the best in the league this season. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have established themselves as the best central defensive partnership in the league. When the two have completed 90 minutes together, Arsenal have never lost a game.
- As well as their strong defensive record, the Gunners have fantastic depth in midfield. These midfielders have weighed in with 29 goals for the Gunners so far this season, helping to take the goal scoring burden away from Olivier Giroud.
- The Gunners have also been fantastic against teams outside of the top 8, relentless in their victories against them.
Why they won’t win the league:
- Whilst they have been fantastic so far, any long term injury to Koscielny or Mertesacker would cause them extreme problems. Arsenal only have one other recognised centre back in their squad, captain Thomas Vermaelen. Any injuries to two of their three centre backs and Arsenal would have an injury crisis on their hands.
- There is also the problem of Olivier Giroud being the Gunners’ only real striking option. Nicklas Bendtner does not fit the mould as a title winning striker if Giroud was to get injured. If the goals from midfield dry up, Giroud’s ability to get goals in the big games is also a worry.
- An extremely tough February and March containing games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City could be a massive hindrance to Arsenal’s chances.
City have been in a rampant mood in recent weeks. They have won 16, drawn 2 and lost 4 for their 22 games giving them 50 points. In the process they have scored 63 goals, winning every single home game. Manuel Pelligrini has given his team a great degree of freedom, which they seem to be thriving from.
Why the will win the league:
- Manchester City possess the best squad in the league. As a squad, they possess two players for every position which means an injury crisis would not do much to hamper their chances. Not only is their squad big, but it is full of quality.
- The amount of goals they are scoring at present is a big factor. They are winning games with ease, rarely looking troubled due to the amount of goals they score. Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko have 40 goals between them.
- Jesus Navas, David Silva, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Aguero and Toure also have 30 assists between them, showing they possess creativity from all over the team.
Why they won’t win the league:
- Manchester City’s defence is still a worry. Early season defeats to Cardiff City and Aston Villa saw them concede 3 goals away from home. Without Vincent Kompany in the team, City often look a very different side. The performances of Joleon Lescott, Matija Nastasic and Martin Demechelis have not been as sturdy as Pelligrini would have hoped.
- There is also the worry that their early season away from could return. All 4 of the games they have lost have come on their travels. Although this has been sorted out in recent weeks, there is still the possibility of this form returning. City still must travel to Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool this season.
The return of Jose Mourinho in the summer gave many the belief that Chelsea would win the league this season. Chelsea have found a rhythm in recent weeks, and have come out of the inconsistent form that they showed earlier in the season. Jose Mourinho has come some way to finding his strongest XI, a team that will operate in the way that he wants his new Chelsea to play. The Blues have won 15, drawn 4 and lost 3, giving them 49 points.
Why they will win the league:
- Mourinho has brought a lot of organisation to this Chelsea team of late. The whole team seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet.
- The form of Eden Hazard has been a plus for the Blues. He has built on his good first season and become a very key player for Chelsea.
- The Blues have also been extremely solid at the back and have the second best defensive record in the league having only conceded 20 goals.
- Mourinho has been particularly astute in the big games. Chelsea have only lost once to a team in the top 8, Everton. They have defeated Manchester City, United and Liverpool at home, and still must face Arsenal and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
Why they won’t win the league:
- There has been a few times this season where the Blues have not played well and lost. This is a team very much in transition and it has shown in their inconsistency. There has been times this season where it has been hard to know what Chelsea team will turn up. They have looked extremely motivated and organised for the big games, but against the smaller teams they have not been as prepared and ruthless.
- The lack of a real goal scoring striker sees Chelsea in a similar position to Arsenal. If their midfielders stop scoring, Chelsea could find themselves in a tough position.
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