For the last couple of months, most of us have been under the impression that the title race is over.
Chelsea have been too good, too consistent and – let’s face it – too far ahead of the chasing pack.
It seemed a certainty that Antonio Conte’s men would march to the title; and as far back as December I suggested that Chelsea had it in the bag.
However, based on what happened at the weekend, it seems like that was potentially a little premature.
Chelsea’s shock home loss to Crystal Palace, coupled with Tottenham’s away win at Burnley has cut Chelsea’s lead from 10 points to 7; and whilst 7 points is still rather a big gap, the title race suddenly looks a little more alive.
Premier League table:
1. Chelsea 69 pts
2. Spurs 62 pts
3. Liverpool 59 pts
4. Man City 58 pts
5. Man Utd 53 pts
6. Arsenal 51 pts pic.twitter.com/dmeFcDs2MX
— All Football News (@AllFootballLive) April 2, 2017
No one knows how Chelsea will react to losing to Palace, and it could be that it has a galvanising effect.
Equally it might not. It might be the catalyst for a run of poor form and poor results.
Only time will tell.
Tottenham do seem like the likeliest of challengers though. Despite Harry Kane’s absence, Spurs recorded another fantastic victory at the weekend. It wasn’t a vintage display by any means, but it got the job done – another three points, and more of a gap between themselves and Manchester City, who were held to a draw versus Arsenal.
So whilst only time will tell, one thing we can examine are the run ins of the teams most likely to win the title and try and see whether there’s seven droppable points in Chelsea’s fixtures AND whether Tottenham could capitalise on them.
At least Chelsea are consistent. 🔒 pic.twitter.com/nyF6WWoK49
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) April 2, 2017
Chelsea face Man City next, followed by Bournemouth, Manchester United, Southampton, Everton, Middlesborough, West Brom and Sunderland.
The last three games look manageable enough, as does the away trip to Bournemouth, but a home game with Man City and a trip to Old Trafford are not straightforward fixtures; neither is the clash with Saints or with Everton.
Could Chelsea drop seven points in those fixtures, especially given that they’ve just lost to Crystal Palace? Conceivably, yes.
Spurs play Swansea next, followed by Watford, Bournemouth, Palace, Arsenal, West Ham, Man United and Hull City.
Could Spurs make enough up on Chelsea from these games, if Chelsea dropped 7 points?
Conceivably, yes. Spurs have beaten all those sides in recent years, and would be favourites against all apart from – potentially – Man United.
So is the title race still alive? A tentative ‘yes’ from me, but it will largely depend on how well Chelsea respond to their loss…
Peppa Pig predicted Christian Benteke’s goal for Crystal Palace against Chelsea!
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) April 2, 2017