Monday, November 15, 2010

The Race To The Top



With the EPL heating up leading to the Winter Break, this more than any other time during the season will see the true title-contenders and Champions League hopefuls emerge. It appears that nearly every top side has been dealt a rough patch of fixtures between now and the rest of the season. So let's analyze the title hopefuls and their chances of topping the league before Christmas.


Liverpool


Amid a financial crisis and struggle to find mental confidence, I'm not sure anyone thought they would be title contenders. With having to cope with Roy Hodgson defensive tactics, Liverpool have looked toothless going forward with being held scoreless in 4 encounters and failing to score over two goals like all of the other title contenders. 

Next 5 Matches:
11/20- West Ham United
11/28- at Tottenham Hotspur
12/6- Aston Villa
12/11- at Newcastle United
12/18- Fulham

Prediction:
The scouse side will qualify for Europa, but will need January purchases to reinvigorate a failing offense.

Chelsea


The 2009-2010 EPL champions will look to repeat their winning ways, still boasting a league leading 28 points through 13 games. Despite a recent run of weak form (2-0 loss to Liverpool and 3-0 thumping by Sunderland), the Blues will look to regain momentum before a rough run of fixtures around Christmas. You can never rule Chelsea out, especially with Frank Lampard and Dider Drogba returning to the squad, although they will be without the services of influential midfielder Michael Essien.

Next 5 Matches:
11/20- at Birmingham City
11/28- at Newcastle United
12/4- Everton
12/12- at Tottenham Hotspur
12/18- Manchester United

Prediction: 
Positive results against Birmingham and Newcastle will buoy the squad into winning ways through Christmas. They will remain atop the table through the new year.

Tottenham


Champions League newboys have performed well in the season thus far with 19 points through 13 games played leaving them at 7th place heading into December. Spurs have largely benefitted from the spectacular play of Garth Bale and an attacking midfield that ranks with the EPL elite (Van der Vaart, Modric, Kranjcar, Bale).  With disappointing losses against Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United, Spurs will need to get into form if they hope to qualify for a successive Champions League spot, but has to wonder how long they can rely on Garth Bale.

Next 5 Matches:
11/20- at Arsenal
11/28- Liverpool
12/4- at Birmingham City
12/12- Chelsea
12/19- at Blackpool

Prediction:
Spurs will have a rough time leading up to the winter break with matches against Liverpool, the Gunners, and Chelsea, I do not expect them to pick up over 8 points through these fixtures. 

Arsenal


With arguably the toughest schedule of these title contenders, this second place Arsenal squad has reason to be optimistic heading through these matches, despite extended absences from Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, and Thomas Vermaalan. Without any easy matches through their next six fixtures (including a potential title standoff with Chelsea after Christmas), Arsenal will hope to pickup at least 9 points through these matchups. This poses the question raised to Arsenal time and time again- Can they win when it matters? and can they beat top clubs as well as EPL minnows? Arsenal could very well be on top of the league through these fixtures, or be 10+ out from the top in the worst case scenario. The pressure is on, but will they become a clinical side that can win tough matches?

Next 5 Matches:
11/20- Tottenham Hotspur
11/27- at Aston Villa
12/4- Fulham
12/13- at Manchester United
12/18- Stoke City

Prediction:
The Gunners should pick up at least 8 or 9 points, but this will not be enough to overcome Chelsea, and will still be in 2nd place. The post-holiday match against Chelsea will decide the table.

Manchester United


These perennial title challengers will look to improve on recent results, 2 draws against Manchester City and Aston Villa. Matches against Wigan, Blackburn, and Blackpool should build up their confidence between two consecutive matches against Arsenal and Chelsea. Just as in the case of the Gunners, they as well could be toping the EPL through this string of matches. Any United supporter could point towards being the only club undefeated through 13 games played, and with Wayne Rooney hopefully returning from his nagging ankle injury, United could very well be an expected darkhorse come Christmas.

Next 5 Matches:
11/20- Wigan Athletic
11/27- Blackburn
12/4- at Blackpool
12/13- Arsenal
12/19- at Chelsea

Prediction:
10 points through these five matches, winning dirty, but winning nonetheless.

Manchester City:


See above picture- enough said.

Next 5 Matches:
11/21- at Fulham
11/27- at Stoke City
12/4- Bolton
12/11- at West Ham United
12/20- Everton

Prediction: 
The bleeding at the Blue Side of Manchester must eventually, stop but they have been struggling to find form. Expect nine point but at least three draws.


Predicted EPL Table
                        GP       Points
1. Chelsea                       18                38
2. Arsenal                       18                35
3. Manchester United      18                35
4. Manchester City          18                31
5. Liverpool                    18                27
6. Tottenham Hotspur     18                26
7. Aston Villa                  18               24


1 comment:

  1. LOL @ the pile of cash!
    Why doesn't Man City go buy Jesus?!

    ReplyDelete

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