Posted on 05th Dec 2016
The race for the Premier League title is wide open. Is there any stopping Antonio Conte’s Chelsea juggernaut? Can Arsenal secure their first title since 2004 or is this finally Liverpool’s year?
Football Ticket Pad takes a look at the top six sides in with a shout of glory and tries to seperate the genuine title contenders from the merely title challengers as we approach the halfway stage of another action packed Premier League season - Unfortunately, there is no sign of Leicester City:
Chelsea: Look unbeatable since converting to 3-4-3 which has seen them win eight matches in a row and gain a three point lead at the top of the table. Following their impressive 3-1 victory over Manchester City, the Blues have now scored 22 goals and conceded just twice in their last eight Premier League matches. They have momentum and confidence is oozing out of the side.
The remainder of December sees the Blues play West Brom, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Stoke City, so they have the perfect opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table by the New Year. However, their biggest challenge will come when they play the teams around them at the top of the table, particularly after suffering defeats against both Liverpool and Arsenal already this season.
Diego Costa has been in lethal form in front of goal this season with 11 goals and keeping him fit will perhaps be one of their biggest challenges. However, with Eden Hazard back to his devastating best, anything is possible for Chelsea. Fans looking to buy Chelsea tickets can do so by clicking here.
Arsenal: It has been a familiar story for Arsenal over the last few years, looking like genuine contenders before shooting themselves in the foot and seeing their title credentials in tatters. However, this season they appear to have finally found an extra gear and should be well and truly in the race for the title come the end of May.
November is usually a notoriously difficult month for the Gunners, however they have proved their doubters wrong and continue to crank the pressure on the leaders. Their recent 5-1 demolition of West Ham United ultimately send out a message to their rivals.
However, Arsenal’s capabilities will hinge on Alexis Sanchez who proving to be the Gunners star man playing as a lone striker. Mesut Ozil has also illustrated his importance and himself and Sanchez have formed a deadly partnership so far this season with Arsenal playing some sublime football along the way. Click here to buy Arsenal tickets in the Premier League.
Liverpool: On their day they are simply unplayable. They have one of the most deadly forward lines in the league with Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. But importantly, Jurgen Klopp has got the fans at Anfield believing again.
Their capitulation at Bournemouth set alarm bells ringing as the Reds face a tricky month of fixtures over the Christmas period with fixtures fixtures against West Ham United and Manchester City sandwiched between a testing Merseyside Derby. This will be the perfect opportunity to prove that their defeat at Bournemouth was merely a blip as they fell to only their second defeat of the season.
Liverpool have now got strength in depth in their squad, however their reliance on Philippe Coutinho is paramount. The Brazilian is without doubt the star man for Liverpool and they will be waiting anxiously for his return to fitness. However, their biggest challenge could be making sure they remain in the hunt by the time Coutinho returns to action in the New Year.
Their defensive vulnerability is still evident and it has been their attacking threat which has been able to paint over the visible cracks. Question marks remain over Loris Karius in goal as they continue to leak goals. Jurgen Klopp will have to find a solution sooner rather than later if he is to clinch Liverpool their first Premier League crown since 1990. Watch the action unfold live with Liverpool tickets by clicking here.
Manchester City: They got off to a flying start under Pep Guardiola but there has been certain issues which leave cause for concern for both Guardiola and Manchester City fans. In attack, City have got all the tools needed to mount a serious title challenge with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. However, defensively City look weak.
The jury remains firmly out on goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and the persistent injuries to Vincent Kompany have distrupted their progress. John Stones continues to adapt to life at The Etihad and himself and Nicolas Otamendi look shaky when playing out from the back at times.
City face a tough festive Christmas schedule as they prepare to face Arsenal before a trip to Anfield on New Year’s Eve - all of which without the suspended Sergio Aguero who has been the lynchpin in attack for City. Guardiola faces a real test of character in the coming weeks and we will see their real credentials in due course. Click here to buy Manchester City tickets.
Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have become a formidable opponent in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino and are not to be underestimated. Despite not quite reaching the dizzying heights as last season, they are still in the running at the top of the table.
The return to form and fitness of Harry Kane has been a particular highlight and has come at the perfect time for Spurs as their title rivals look to adapt to life without certain key players. Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min have also provided extra firepower in attack, all of whom played pivotal roles in the 5-0 drubbing of Swansea City.
There have been some eye-catching displays so far this season for Spurs, however they have not shown the consistency to be considered serious contenders. They may not win the league, but they will try and seal the next big achievement - finishing above Arsenal. Click here to purchase Spurs tickets.
Manchester United: Some may say that United are already out of the title race in what has been a frustrating season so far at Old Trafford. Despite being outsiders to clinch the Premier League title, they have world class talent with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and David De Gea in their ranks.
United are lacking that ruthless streak which is so often associated with Manchester United sides in years gone by. The recent bad habits of conceding late goals has also cost them dear in the league. United are already 13 points off the top and sit in sixth place in the table which leaves them with plenty of work to do.
Jose Mourinho may have to wait for another season if he is to bring the Premier League title back to Old Trafford. Whether he is given the time remains to be seen, but life at Manchester United is very much a work in progress. To buy Manchester United tickets click here.