As I awaited the start of the Man Utd game against Leicester, I couldn’t help but wonder: is the Premier League already decided?
Saturday was a hard one to watch, at least from a perspective of all Arsenal fans. And it isn’t the result that sticks with me. The skill disparity wasn’t as noticeable as much as the pure physicality that was on display at the Bridge. Chelsea absolutely bullied Arsenal, and that has become an ever present trend. Since the “Invincibles” era, Arsenal has won five and lost fourteen games to the Blues. Chelsea is absolutely dominating this term. Not playing in Europe does help, but the passion that manager Antonio Conte has instilled in the players is remarkable. You just know a winning mentality when you see one, and the goals from this game are the purest proof of confidence this squad enjoys.
Skill or Mental?
The way Eden scored his goal on the day shows that the skills play a role and none can deny that. But the equally crucial part of that action took place prior to him starting the center pitch run. No less than 3 Chelsea players hustled the ball away from Arsenal midfield in a brilliant display of heart and motivation. The rest of that play was no less brilliant. And that kind of move is all Chelsea really need from their best player as they can grind out the rest. Sure, Arsenal were thin in midfield on the day. But still, no other team has the midfield backbone of Matic and Kante Chelsea has. This, in turn, lets Hazard play with a lot more freedom. And as we saw on Saturday, that freedom is going to haunt Francis Coquelin for a very, very long time.
Premier League: Where are the contenders?
- Chelsea’s next matches are against Burnley, Swansea and West Ham respectively. Those are all games that shouldn’t cause them much trouble. Even if they lose all of the games against the top teams, I still can’t see them losing these ones. Looks like smooth sailing from here on out for Antonio Conte’s men.
- We just saw Arsenal’s chances dwindle in the defeat, no point in commenting on that.
- Liverpool loss to Hull only confirms the strong case that this Premier League season is all but over.
- Tottenham won their clash against Middlesbrough, but they are still a long way off Chelsea with a 9 point deficit.
Discussing these teams and their chances really bears no relevance, as long as Chelsea keeps winning points left and right.
Everyone sort of expected Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea to be in contention for the title this year. It is even safe to say that Chelsea is the most pleasant surprise of the season given their consistency and current chances of winning. Granted, the season is only 2/3 done and a lot can still happen. But, if I were a gambling man, my money would go on Chelsea bagging this one as they are, unlike any other team in the Premier League, allowed a slip-up or two. This really puts the pressure of their back onto other contenders.
Potential dark horse
The teams that took the field on Sunday afternoon are arguably two of the most disappointing ones this term. Leicester is a prime example of a team spread too thin for a battle on two or more fronts. As well as they have been playing in Europe, the same cannot be said for their form. They went from winning the League to the brink of the relegation zone.
United, on the other hand, came from a disappointing season last term, and a lot was expected of them this season. High caliber signings of Pogba and Mkhitaryan were made. Even Mourinho was finally brought on to steer the club in the right direction. But as previous seasons have shown, Mourinho just can’t seem to get his act together after the successes he experienced while helming Chelsea, Inter, and Real. But a string of good results could really put the pressure on other teams. I would say that personally, I value the chances of Man Utd winning a title this year to be the same as any other team has, besides Chelsea of course.
I would say that we still have a lot to look forward to in the Premier League, and a lot bigger advantages have been known to disappear. That’s one of the reasons Premiership is one of the best competitions in the world.