Thursday, April 25, 2019

Plenty still left to play for in the Premier League

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 1 Apr 2019

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The English Premier League is branded as this very exciting watch. It can be, but sometimes towards the end of the season teams can switch off. In short, some teams are already on the beach in April.

However, the thing with this season is that very little is yet settled heading into the last six games. We have the tightest title race in years, the fight for the Champions League spots is also tight, while the relegation battle is still not over either.

The race for the title is a refreshing change

As much as Manchester City were fantastic to watch last season, their procession to the Premier League title unchallenged took some of the excitement away. The Citizens stroll to the title breaking record after record in the process.

A team being head and shoulders above everybody else makes the run in rather dull for the neutral anyway. It has happened in a few recent campaigns. However, the fact that Liverpool are ahead by two points, with City enjoying a game in hand has made the title race more interesting.

For me, City are the best team in the league. Liverpool deserves praise for their determination this season. The Reds have received a huge helping hand from some highly-rated goalkeepers along the way, though.  Jordan Pickford and Hugo Lloris should receive winners’ medals in the post if Liverpool wins the title.

Champions League fight even closer

City and Liverpool will take two Champions League spots this season. There is now a four-way battle for the other two spots in Europe’s elite competition. There is just one point between third-place Tottenham and sixth-place Chelsea, with Manchester United and Arsenal sandwiched in between.

Arsenal could move up to third place in the table with a victory over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium this evening. Even if the Gunners beat the Magpies, they will still only be three points ahead of sixth-place Chelsea.

From the quartet, Arsenal at odds of 1/ 2 and Tottenham at odds of 8/13 are the favourites to book their place in Europe’s elite competition for next season. However, the race for the top-four is that tight that any of the teams could still finish in the top four this season.

Relegation fight is slightly more clear

The fight for relegation is slightly clearer. Huddersfield have already suffered relegation to the Championship, while Fulham look set to join the Terriers in the second tier, as they are 16 points from safety.

Cardiff who occupy the last relegation berth were rather unlucky not to have yielded points from their Sunday encounter with Chelsea. The officials were quite frankly awful, as the Bluebirds suffered a 2-1 home defeat.

The Welsh side are five points away from safety. However, they have a game in hand on Burnley, Brighton and Southampton who are all level on 33 points. Unfortunately, for Neil Warnock’s team, their game in hand is a visit to reigning champions Manchester City in midweek.

Even if the Welsh side suffers a defeat at City, five points is not a massive gap to overcome, especially as the teams above have not exactly been that consistent themselves of late. The big question is does Cardiff have the sufficient quality to mount a winning run.

Their campaign so far suggests they do not have the quality to mount that sort of winning run. However, it has happened in previous seasons. You just never know in football. The Bluebirds are certainly not dead and buried yet.

End to this season is set to be an exciting one

This season could see the fight for the title, the Champions League spots and the relegation battle all go down to the wire. This is the ideal situation for fans. It means there are less meaningless games at the end of a Premier League campaign.

Watching two teams going through the motions is like torture. There is unlikely to be many of those games left this season. In fact, it looks like it could be a highly exciting end to the season.

Which issue will be decided first in the Premier League this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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