A month ago it was a foregone conclusion that Manchester United were going to win another Premier League title. But after back-to-back defeats and Liverpool thrashing Real Madrid, Man United and Aston Villa in their last three games the title race is back on. The International break came at a bad time for Liverpool and Chelsea. Will they be able to pick up where they left off and will Man United’s bobble continue?
The fixture list for each team is below:
- Man Utd’s fixtures are: Aston Villa (h), Sunderland (a), Portsmouth (h), Spurs (a), Middlesbrough (a), Man City (h), Wigan (a), Arsenal (h), and Hull (a).
- Liverpool’s fixtures are: Fulham (a), Blackburn (h), Arsenal (h), Hull (a), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), West Brom (a), and Spurs (a).
- Chelsea’s fixtures are: Newcastle (a), Bolton (h), Everton (h), West Ham (a), Fulham (h), Arsenal (a), Blackburn (h), and Sunderland (a).
United have three potential tough games: Villa at home, Spurs away and Arsenal at home. Assuming they pick up four points from these three games + maximum points from the other games that means they would pick up an additional 22 points this season leaving them with 87 points at the end of the season.
Liverpool have to be favorite in all but one game this season and that is against Arsenal. If Liverpool won every game but the Arsenal one then will will pick up 24 more points this season, giving them a total of 88.
Chelsea probably has the easiest run-in with Arsenal away the only major obstacle in their path. I can see Chelsea winning 8 of their 9 remaining games giving them 24 more points and a total of 85.
The one wildcard in the Premier League is the Champions League. Either Chelsea or Liverpool will be in the Champions League semi-finals while Man United are favorites to beat Porto and join them. I expect that the title contenders will rest players in league games to keep them fresh for Europe. Manchester United have the strongest squad to handle these extra games, while Liverpool I think have the weakest. If Liverpool beat Chelsea, I don’t expect that Torres and Gerrard will play in every league game this season which ultimately will hurt their title chances.
The lack of Torres and/or Gerrard in one the nine remaining league games will cost Liverpool a victory between now and the end of the season. If I subtract 2 points from Liverpool that leaves them with 86 points.
So the final order will be Man United with 87 points, Liverpool with 86 points and Chelsea with 85 points.
Do you agree or disagree with my crystal ball predictions?