Last night’s goalless draw in the Premier League between Arsenal and Chelsea was not exactly a fantastic advert for the Premier League.
Neither team was willing to risk anything to claim a big victory, because they were scared of losing.
These two are supposed to be title challengers, but defences came out on top in a lacklustre clash. Arsenal should have taken the initiative to win the game being the home side.
However, they took a long time to even get a shot on target.
The flowing attacking play of earlier in the season seems to have fallen flat in recent games, as the Gunners are now four games without a victory in all competitions, three of those games in the Premier League.
The Gunners have gone from having a comfortable lead at the top of the table to being two points behind Liverpool in the Premier League table. Arsene Wenger’s men now face away trips to West Ham and Newcastle over the festive period.
The draw was probably not a terrible result at Arsenal for Chelsea, considering that the Blues are now just two points behind league leaders Liverpool and Arsenal with home games against Swansea and Liverpool coming up before the new year.
The Blues were the better team at the Emirates Stadium and Frank Lampard was unlucky not to have found the net with a superb first half volley from Eden Hazard’s lofted pass. However, the Blues produced little else in the attacking sense.
The draw meant that Liverpool remained top at Christmas, which could be a good omen for the Reds. The last four seasons the team at the top at Christmas has gone on to win the league. Liverpool have been in superb form of late, with a certain Luis Suarez in scintillating form up front.
Not many players are capable of winning games on their own, but the Uruguayan is one of that rare breed. Despite missing key players such as Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge in recent weeks the Reds have excelled courtesy of Suarez’s fantastic form.
Many people have written-off Liverpool’s challenge, because they are not believed to have as strong a squad as Chelsea and Manchester City. However, they have as good a chance as anybody in the top five at the moment, as the race for the title is still very open.
I do not think that many people would have predicted that the Reds would win the league at the start of the season, but they are showing that they are a real danger in the race for the crown.
Liverpool face difficult trips to rivals Manchester City and Chelsea over the Christmas period which could determine the Reds whole season.
When David Moyes was replaced at Everton by Roberto Martinez in the summer few would have expected the upturn in the Toffees fortunes. The Merseysider’s have been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season and everybody connected with the club have embraced Martinez’s football philosophy.
Everton find themselves just two points off the top in what is a very tight Premier League table. The Toffees are definite contenders for the Champions League spots, but a realistic title challenge may be just beyond their reach.
Roberto Martinez has already stated that he is likely to strengthen his squad during the transfer window. The Toffees do not have the same financial muscle of Chelsea or Manchester City, but Martinez has proved with his loan deals that he can be shrewd in the transfer market.
Everton have not been beaten at Goodison in 2013 and with home games against Sunderland and Southampton before the end of the year that is unlikely to change. The run-in is favourable for the Toffees until the end of January when they travel to rivals Liverpool, so the Toffees could be in a superb position heading towards the backend of the season.
Along with Chelsea, Manchester City started the season as favourites for the Premier League title. The Citizens are still favourites to win the title at odds of 6/5 and are currently sitting in third place just one point off top spot.
City have consecutive home games over the festive period against Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Manuel Pellegrini’s team have the best home record in the top-flight, with eight victories out of eight at the Etihad Stadium.
City have by far the best goal difference in the league and have scored the most goals in the top-flight. The only negative for the Citizens is their away form, which has been patchy this season. If they can start performing away from home then they have to be considered the team to beat.
Reigning champions Manchester United are playing catch-up, as David Moyes’ side are eight points behind league leaders Liverpool. The Red Devils have finally found some form though and could still have an outside chance of winning the league.
However, they would need all the teams above them to slip-up if they are to win the Premier League. The champions look unlucky to win the title this season.
This season’s race for the Premier League title promises to be one of the most exciting in years, with potentially six contenders for the crown. No doubt those contenders will be narrowed down closer to the end of the season, but for now fans of the top five will all be dreaming of glory when May rolls around.
How many teams have a realistic chance of winning the Premier League title?