Premier League on for record season not seen since Gerrard slip cost Liverpool title | Football | Sport

Top spot in the Premier League is proving a hot potato this season. It isn’t even Christmas yet and the lead in the title race has already changed hands a remarkable 13 times. There is a welcome fluidity about the top of the table which promises a stock car race to the chequered flag in the New Year.

Of course Manchester City could always return from Saudi Arabia as world club champions and go on one of their scorched earth runs to spoil everything but it does not feel like that sort of season.

City, undoubted aristocrats though they remain, have been too sloppy for the sustained period of dominance that has become their calling card to look inevitable this time around. And while it has needed the champions to come back to the pack for the league to be this competitive, the jam at the summit – which sees six points cover the leading five teams – reflects the strides made elsewhere too.

The current leaders Arsenal, with Declan Rice’s help, look a more robust threat than last season when they ultimately flattered to deceive as title contenders.

We may know a little more after Saturday when they travel to the leaders of last week Liverpool who, after their midfield reboot, have a good deal of their swagger back.

Jose Mourinho was asked about his take on the current Premier League race on The Obi One Podcast yesterday. His prediction was that it will evolve into a three-way fight between City, Liverpool and Arsenal but that City’s squad depth still makes them slight percentage favourites.

“It’s going to be these three and out of these three I would be happy for Arsenal to do it,” said the Roma manager.“I would be really happy to see them break that thing a little bit but I think it’s 51-49 between City and Liverpool. And I say 51-49 because when the accumulation of matches are coming, Man City has two teams.”

With due respect to Mourinho, who even from afar still knows his Premier League onions, it would be unwise to count out either Aston Villa or Tottenham entirely either.

Villa have been the surprise package of the season, confounding the sceptics on a weekly basis. They could, by Friday night, be top of the Premier League if they see off Sheffield United at Villa Park – a venue which has become English football’s most impregnable fortress.

Spurs meanwhile are enjoyably dotty under Ange Postecoglou and have the go-get-them outlook to take on anybody. They are also the one club in the scrum without the complication of European football in the New Year.

It all makes for the promise of a multi-team title scramble to remember, one which could end up being as compelling as 2013-14 when City, under Manuel Pellegrini, eventually took the trophy on the last day of the season after Liverpool – and Steven Gerrard stumbled – on the home straight. Arsenal, who had led the league in the early part of the season, faded to finish behind Chelsea in what was, alongside 1996-97, the tightest top four in Premier League history.

That season the Premier League lead changed hands 25 times. If that figure ends up being even higher this time around no neutral will be complaining.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *