Last Updated on 9 Dec 2021 7:49 pm (UK Time)
As we approach the new year, this Premier League season is shaping up to deliver yet another classic title race. In previous seasons, Manchester City and Liverpool have dominated the Premier League and delivered some breathtaking displays. But an improved Chelsea side under Tucel has meant that they are now in contention for the title.
After a triumphant display last year, Manchester City are the current champions and will be looking to regain their title. But Liverpool will have a point to prove after last years poor display, whilst Chelsea will be looking to add to their Champions League success with another domestic title to their name.
At the end of last season, Chelsea was crowned as Champions League winners after Tucel took the reigns at Chelsea when Lampard was sacked. The only piece of criticism that could be aimed at Chelsea was the lack of a natural goalscorer up front.
Then came Romelu Lukaku and he was the last piece of the puzzle to Tuchel’s master plan. The Belgian forward has helped Chelsea to climb up the table this season but hasn’t had the impact he’d have wanted in recent times due to a lack of fitness whilst returning from injury.
Chelsea has failed to reach the standard they set at the start of the year with The Blues keeping one clean sheet in their last five games. During that time, Chelsea has only won two of those games which have seen their lead at the top of the table slip away as they currently sit in third.
Chelsea fans will be hoping that their recent run of games is a blip, rather than an extended run of bad form and that they can push on to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the title.
Last season for Liverpool was notably different. Plagued by injuries to key positions, Liverpool’s astonishing 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield spectacularly came to an end against Burnely and then followed a run of six consecutive defeats. After a considerably poor start to their campaign, an impressive run of form towards the end of the season salvaged Liverpool third spot.
This season it’s been a different picture. Liverpool has scored the most goals in the Premier League, hitting the ball in the back of the net 44 times – nine more times than second-placed Chelsea. Three of the top five scorers in the league currently play for Liverpool with Mohammaed Salah at the top of the list. The Egyptian has been in fine form for Liverpool, netting 13 goals and registering 9 assists in 15 appearances in the league.
But with the Africa Cup of Nations in January, Liverpool will be without their star man, along with Senegal winger Sadio Mane and midfielder Naby Keita. When the African players leave for the tournament is still unknown as a later date can be agreed by clubs, as opposed to the 27th of December that was originally specified by Fifa regulations.
Could this cause a dent in Liverpool’s title race? Or can they come out on top?
Man City appeared to be out of the title race last season when Pep Guardiola made his worst start to a Premier League season as a manager. But a remarkable run of winning 15 consecutive games in the league blew the competition away. This year City have had a sluggish start to the season losing their opening game 1-0 against Nuno’s Tottenham side. But after drawing to Liverpool 2-2 in October, City has won seven consecutive games in a row and are in sensational form.
This run of form can be attributed to Bernado Silva’s impressive performances. The Portuguese playmaker has been pivotal for Guardiola’s side, being the difference in decisive games such as their clash against PSG in the Champions League. Scoring seven goals in the league this early is something expected from a striker, but Man City’s fluid, possession-based style of play gives the license for players like Bernado Silva to roam forward and get amongst the goals.
The conversation of a Man City lacking a natural goalscorer will always be present when they don’t win games and will be the first point of criticism if they don’t win the title. But if Man City can recapture their run of form which made them so impressive last year, they would certainly be the favourites to reclaim the Premier League.
Only two points separate the top three and this highlights the competitiveness at the top of the table. Anything but a win isn’t deemed sufficient. As the season reaches its climax in May, the race for the Premier League has never been so tough to call.