28 February 2019
By Bryan Smyth
The race to be crowned this season’s Premier League champion has certainly been an enthralling one thus far. You get the feeling that, as we enter its final third, the drama is only going to intensify over the coming weeks and months.
What was viewed as strictly a two-horse race has seen a new contender enter proceedings. Manchester City and Liverpool had been duking it out in a battle to the end, but you can now add Tottenham into the mix.
The league lead has been swapped back and forth as of late and it’s last season’s champions Manchester City sat atop the pile at the time of writing, albeit by goal difference and having played a game more than their Merseyside rivals.
However, when it’s this close, it could be goal difference that goes on to decide the destination of this season’s Premier League title. If that is to be the case, City’s recent 6-0 demolition of Chelsea may well turn out to be a key result
That win at the Etihad showed that last season’s league winners have the bit between their teeth once more and for many are indeed the team that will go the distance in pursuit of domestic glory.
That feeling is reinforced when you look at the current standings in Premier League betting. As of 28th February, Bet365 had Pep Guardiola’s men as 8/15 favourites to be crowned champions and in turn become the first team to win back-to-back Premier League titles since 2009.
The last team to achieve this feat was Manchester United and, considering it hasn’t been repeated in nearly a decade, it’s clearly even tougher to defend the Premier League title than to win it.
But this particular City side have a championship winning pedigree: it may well be that kind of experience that gets them over the line this time around and it’s an attribute that the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham can only dream of utilising.
At the same time, the fact that there are two challengers in the mix might be something that ends up working in their favour. For both Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino’s men, there is no danger of complacency setting in: their desire to be crowned kings of the English game is arguably larger than that of the City juggernaut who knocked everyone out of their path last season. Perhaps just wanting it that little bit more will catapult them to glory.
In fairness, it might be Tottenham who hold all the aces, as they have to face both their rivals in the title run-in. Away trips to both the Etihad and Anfield will present a gigantic task for the North London outfit, but they have a habit of continually silencing their critics.
Depending on how those two fixtures pan out for Spurs, could it be they who go on to win this season’s Premier League. One thing is for sure though: the outcome of those games will have a huge bearing on who does eventually come out on top.