THE 2019/2020 ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: THE FAVOURITES, OUTSIDERS & UNDERDOGS
Ten games have already been played this season and potential final positions of some teams is starting to look clearer, however there are still 28 games to go and 84 points to be fought for, so it is pretty safe to still say anything can happen…theoretically.
Last season featured one of the most closely fought title challenges in EPL history as the champion was only decided on the FINAL matchday of the season with Manchester City making it back-to-back titles after pipping Liverpool by a single point after going at it hammer and tongs for almost the entire season. Pep Guardiola’s men dramatically retained their title last term after being pushed all the way by Liverpool, who finished 25 points above third-placed Chelsea. Another thrilling season of Premier League action has kicked off and Manchester City are looking to make it a three-peat, a hat-trick of titles.
Liverpool remain the only undefeated side this season with nine wins already, their only draw coming against Manchester United at Old Trafford. They also boast a 100 percent win record at home thus are in pole position if they continue their current form. However, many sceptics remain because this is not the first or second time Liverpool would start a season strong, be some points clear at the top of the log and still fail to win the title as was seen last season with a 7-point lead under Jürgen Klopp and some six years ago, in the 2013-14 season, when Liverpool lost the league to Manchester City on the final matchday of the season after failing to find a win for three consecutive matches despite being on fire for most of the season under Brendan Rodgers.
The Reds have yet to struggle for goals in any of their fixtures, scoring 23 times, however their usually mean defence has kept just two clean sheets all season, which is worrisome, with Manchester City keeping five clean sheets so far, which is half of their games, despite having to start matches with recognised defensive midfielders in the centre back role due to injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones and the poor form of Nicolás Otamendi.
However, the fact that Liverpool have played all the top-4 contenders (Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurs, Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester City) save Manchester City and won all the games but that against Manchester United, including a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, will have gone some way to ignite faith that Jürgen Klopp’s side can topple Man City and go one better than last term.
Manchester City remain strong favourites and are currently second, six points behind Liverpool, with the highest number of goals (32) and clean sheets (5) in the league, with their losses to Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers coming as a shock. Backers of City, however, will still be aware that this Manchester side recovered from seven points behind last season to lift the title and there is still a long way to go in this campaign.
Frank Lampard and his Chelsea team remain outsiders to win the league after turning around a disastrous with the Blues having found their feet in recent weeks. It took four attempts for Chelsea to win a game at Stamford Bridge but they are going from strength-to-strength with 20 points to their name in 4th place, level on points with Leicester City. Unlike the previous season under Maurizio Sarri, where Chelsea could do nothing without star player Eden Hazard, this season has seen many players like Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori come into the fray, with Lampard opting to invest in youth with veterans like Olivier Giroud on the bench and allowing David Luiz leave the club, despite a transfer ban.
Arsenal, like Chelsea remain outsiders to win the competition this season. The Gunners have lost just twice this season and have netted in all-but one of their fixtures, although a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United and the loss of a 2-0 lead to Crystal Palace on Sunday will hardly have inspired fans or punters alike.
Leicester City are shock outsiders this season as they currently sit in third place with 20 points to their name, just two less than Manchester City and Brendan Rodgers’ side have tasted defeat just twice, against Liverpool and Manchester United and boast the second-best goal difference in the Premier League at the moment. They equalled a 25-year record 9-0 win against Southhampton on Saturday and have looked a different side in Brendan Rodgers’ first full season in charge, conceding just 8 goals and scoring with ease, 25 so far. The lack of European football this season plays to their advantage as their players would be fresher than those of their closest competitiors when so many games would be played in December/January.
Tottenham are long shots to win the Premier League and are the underdogs to the title race, which comes as little surprise considering they finished 27 points behind Man City last term and their extremely poor start to the season, one of the worst in recent years and the worst under manager, Mauricio Pochettino. Spurs have yet to find any consistency in their results so far, picking up just 12 points, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men have won only six of their last 21 league games going back to February, which is surprising considering they were last season’s Champions League finalists. However with the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son in front of goal, anything is possible.
Manchester United remain underdogs to win their first premier league title since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. They sit in 7th place after a rough start to the season, after picking up just three wins in ten games this season with four draws. They have lost 3 games this season to unexpected teams like Newcastle and West Ham United, including a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace. Goals have been particularly difficult to come by this season, scoring just 13 times in the opening ten games of the competition. Their 3-1 win over the weekend would do little to appease millions of fans who have been calling for the sack of under pressure manager, Ole Gunnar Solksjær, with the “#OleOut” campaign.
Source: Goal.com, Premierleague.com; Duta EPL, Google Images