The most dramatic title race in the Premier League for years took yet another turn this weekend as current holders Manchester United lost for the sixth time this season after they were comfortably beaten by Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park, but last night they made up for this by beating West Ham 3-0 at Old Trafford.
The Toffees have had a huge impact on the title race having first beaten Chelsea and now Manchester United in the space of ten days. But, the big boys’ slipping up has been the story of the season. The top three of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal collectively have been defeated 16 times so far, compared to the 11 in the whole of last season.
Each team craves the Premier League title yet nobody seems to want to take a hold of it. There have been fleeting moments when one of the three has broken away only to be dragged right back after a crushing defeat.
If the teams overall form was to be described in one word then it would be: mediocre. There has been no consistency at all, Manchester United have never lost six games in a season since the inception of the Premier League, Chelsea have dropped 18 points on the road, while Arsenal have crumbled when they came face to face with Chelsea and United and fell to crushing defeats.
Despite that, the Gunners are far from out of the title race, they are after all only two points behind United in 3rd place, and have possibly the easier run-in, albeit every game needs to be won and hope both Chelsea and Man United slip-up.
Personally, the defining moment of this season will be when Chelsea come to Old Trafford on April 3rd. Currently the Blues have a one point advantage at the summit of the league, although, Manchester United have played a game more, yet the Blues are by no means a safe bet to win the title. Any slip-ups and the chasing pack will be right on them. Having said that, I will stick my neck on the line and say Chelsea will win the title.
The other race that is hotting up is the one for fourth place and that coveted qualification into next seasons Champions League. At the moment it is advantage Tottenham who after a 3-0 win over Wigan managed to leapfrog Liverpool and Manchester City.
City have dropped down to 5th after that dismal 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium in what many people billed as the worst game of football they have ever seen, despite a plethora of talent being on show. The Reds stay 6th in the table, compared to this time last year when they were top of the table.
Hot on their tails are Carling Cup finalists Aston Villa in 7th on 45 points. Only one point separates them from Tottenham in 4th. Like the top three, these four teams will probably not change as seven points is the gap between Villa and the next team, Everton who are on 38 points.
I fully expect Aston Villa to secure fourth place. They came agonisingly close last year only to go on a run of losing games and were pipped at the post by Arsenal. This time round Martin O’Neill has not only has players fit, but players who are capable to getting results when they are needed. Also, their airtight back four will stand to them when it comes down to goal differences, out of the teams only Spurs have better.
So, what are your thoughts? With 11 games remaining we know that the top three will probably be Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United but it what order? And who will win the race for fourth place? Leave your comments below.