Who Will Win the Premier League?


Who will win the Premier League?

Who will win the Premier League?

This year’s title race is one of the most
open in the history of the Premier
League, with Liverpool, Chelsea and
Manchester City in a three-way tussle
that may only be decided on the last day
of the season.

Goal difference handed City their first title in
44 years in 2012, while Manchester United
finished a point ahead of Arsenal in 1999, with
Chelsea just a further three points back
Liverpool had their lead over Chelsea cut to just
two points when their 11-game winning run was
ended by Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Anfield on Sunday,
with the two clubs having just two fixtures left
to play.
But City are now only three points behind
Liverpool with a game in hand and a superior
goal difference, after they beat Crystal Palace
2-0 following the Liverpool-Chelsea match.
On Sunday BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson
told Match of the Day 2 Extra he expected
Liverpool to “blow Chelsea away”, but speaking
on BBC Radio 5 live the morning after Chelsea’s
win he encapsulated the changing nature of the
title chase by saying:
“Up until yesterday, Liverpool were in control of
their own destiny. Liverpool have to win the
league this year because Chelsea will be
stronger next year, so will City, Arsenal, and
Manchester United. This is their opportunity and
the fact that they let it slip was obviously for
them not good.”
There could still be plenty of twists and turns to
come, but here is how the rest of the season
shapes up for the three title contenders:
LIVERPOOL
The Reds could be as low as third by the time
they play again, away at Crystal Palace on
Monday, 5 May. Their title rivals City and
Chelsea are in action on Saturday and Sunday
respectively, and wins for both would put Jose
Mourinho’s men above Manuel Pellegrini’s side
by the time Liverpool kick off at Selhurst Park.
Victory at West Ham on 6 April put Liverpool,
seeking to win a first Premier League title and
first league championship since 1990, to the top
of the table for the fourth time during the
current campaign.
But the topsy-turvy nature of this season’s title
race is shown by the fact that they were as low
as sixth on 12 January, when they were seven
points behind then-leaders Chelsea.
Palace have secured their Premier League
status with a fine run of form since the start of
2014, but their 2-0 defeat by City was their third
loss in their last five outings at home.
On the final day of the season, Liverpool host a
Newcastle side who are comfortable in mid-
table and last won in the league at Anfield on 16
April 1994.
CHELSEA
If City beat Everton on the evening of Saturday,
3 May, Chelsea will be in third place when they
play struggling Norwich at Stamford Bridge just
under 24 hours later.
A win over the Canaries, who have plummeted
down the table with a run of five straight
defeats, will put the Blues back to the top
position that they occupied for nearly two
months until supplanted by Liverpool at the
start of April.
But Blues boss Jose Mourinho has repeatedly
written off his side’s chances, even greeting the
win at Anfield by saying: “We are not in it. The
champions will be Liverpool or City, we have
nothing to celebrate.”
They round their campaign off with a trip to
Cardiff, who could be relegated by then but
could also require a win to remain in the top
flight.
MANCHESTER CITY
City know more than anyone about the fine
margins that separate success from failure in
the Premier League, having claimed the title on
goal difference in 2012.
That hardly begins to describe the dramatic
circumstances of the win, with Sergio Aguero
scoring deep into stoppage time for a 3-2 win
over QPR that snatched a 20th title away from
local rivals Manchester United.
Some big winning margins this term – with the
biggest being 7-0 over Norwich – have given the
Blues the best goal difference in the league, but
a surprising 2-2 draw at home to lowly
Sunderland seemed to put them at a
disadvantage.
However, the most recent set of results have
revived their title prospects ahead of their trip
to Everton on Saturday, 2 May at 17:30 BST.
Everton will need to win to maintain their hopes
of a Champions League place – but a draw or win
for them would boost their Merseyside rivals’
title chances at City’s expense.
City follow that with their game in hand at home
to Aston Villa, currently without a win in six
games, on Wednesday, 7 May. The Blues’ season
ends at home to West Ham, and manager
Pellegrini – who insisted after the win at Palace
his side are not title favourites – thinks it will
still be up for grabs until the last possible
moment.
“This league will be decided by a narrow margin,
maybe one point, maybe even goal difference,”
said the Chilean following his side’s 2-0 win at
Selhurst Park.
WHAT THE STATS SAYS
Manchester City finished level on 89
points with Manchester United at the end
of the 2011-12 campaign, but won with a
goal difference of +64 compared to
United’s +56.
City’s current goal difference is +58,
Liverpool are +50, Chelsea are +43.
No team has ever won the Premier League
while in third place with three games to
play – City were second after 35 games
two years ago.
The maximum points any side can finish on
this season is 86. The highest points haul
in the Premier League era is Chelsea’s 95
– under Mourinho – in 2004-05. The lowest
points total that has won the Premier
League title was Manchester United’s 75 in
1996-97.

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