Well after it seemed like Chelsea were somewhat running away with the Premier League – Aston Villa have really now put the cat amongst the pigeons with their 2-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s men. So now we have Manchester City just six points behind with three games in hand – and no other competitions to worry about – and Liverpool and Arsenal four points behind Chelsea each with a game in hand.
But Chelsea are still very much in the Champions League at the time of writing and that’s surely the trophy “the special one” craves more than any other whilst at Stamford Bridge. This is the one that eluded him in his previous spell at Chelsea and it was obviously the one that Roman Abramaovich wanted more than any other. Of course, Mourinho has won the Champions League with both Porto and Inter Milan. But he failed at Chelsea and Real Madrid – and he’d dearly love to become the only manager to win it with three different clubs.
This may help shift his players’ focus slightly off the Premier League and allow Man City to fill the gap. In fact, it may have already happened. Man City look capable of achieving maximum points over their remaining fixtures given their complete lack of distraction – in which case, nothing could stop them of course. This is why they’re now 6/5 favourites followed by Chelsea at around 7/4, Liverpool now 4/1 after the draw against Manchester United – then a gap to Arsenal at 12-1 after their win against Spurs.
What will be really interesting is the dynamic between the two men at the helm of Chelsea and Man City. This is a game of poker between Manuel Pellegrini – a gentleman in the true sense of the word who nothing seems to particularly perturb on the one hand, and the fiery Jose Mourinho, on the other hand. Mourinho is a past master at manipulating situations – using the media to its full extent to try and get under the skin of opposition managers and players. You can bet he’ll try all the tricks in the book over the remainder of the season.
Interestingly, though, perhaps Liverpool hold the key to the door of this year’s Premier League title. Brendan Rodgers’ side have been a revelation this season and were unlucky not to get any points from their away fixtures at either the Etihad or Stamford Bridge both in the space of three days after Christmas – having dominated both games for long periods. Liverpool have yet to host both Manchester City, on April 13th, and Chelsea a fortnight later. So in many ways, the outcome of the season will depend on what Liverpool make it. Luis Suarez is, of course, the most prolific scorer in the Premier League and a heck of a force to be reckoned with. He’ll be determined to make amends and to end the season on a high as we count down towards Brazil and the World Cup – where the Uruguayan will face England on July 19th – a game he’ll surely be relishing.
Whatever happens – this has already been the most exciting Premier League campaign to date – and it just keeps on getting better. So now who wins the Premier League?