If you haven’t been following the English Premier League this season, you’ve been seriously missing out. Not only has it been the most competitive top-flight league in the world, it’s also given birth to one of the most wild seasons in recent memory. Upsets have happened almost every week. But — in a season where anyone can beat anyone — no team has been able to stay at the top of the table for any significant amount of time. Almost as soon as a team is declared the title favorite, that team slips up and another takes its place.
This season has seen Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City all at the top of the table. In the last few months, Arsenal has fallen out of title contention, leaving Chelsea, Liverpool, and City to grapple for the trophy. Although each team has held its destiny in its hands at various points of the season, José Mourinho, Brendan Rodgers, and Manuel Pelligrini have all insisted at various times that their respective teams are not title favorites/contenders. Oh, the mind games are so magical.
But, up until last week’s defeat to Chelsea, Liverpool were the clear title favorites. A win or even a draw against The Blues would have all but wrapped up the title. The loss has set up an exciting and nerve wracking final two weeks of the season. Who will actually win this thing is anyone’s guess at this point. Here’s ours.
Like all the top teams, City has had a highly inconsistent season. There have been highs for the Sky Blues like winning the League Cup and gut-punching lows like taking only one point in its two meetings with lowly Sunderland. If one factor had to be pointed to for City’s inconsistencies, it would have to be injuries. Star striker Sergio Agüero has only featured in 21 of City’s 35 Premier League matches this season and Vincent Kompany, David Silva, and Samir Nasri have all been absent for extended amounts of time.
Why City Will Win: City will win because it likely holds its destiny in its hands. Should the Sky Blues and Liverpool both win out, City will more than likely take the trophy based on goal differential. City face Everton at Goodison Park before returning home to the Etihad for its final two matches against bottom-half teams in Aston Villa and West Ham United. If City can win at Everton, the trophy should return to the Etihad.
Why City Will Blow It: Simply put: because they are Manchester City. Screwing up is what they do. City fans often lament their club’s failures with the phrase “typical City.” A slip up in one of the final home matches would see the return of that all-too-common expression in Manchester.
With or without the title, this season will have to be deemed a success for Liverpool by neutral observers (although Reds fans might disagree with that). The team will have qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 2009-2010 and done so while playing an attractive, attacking-style of football. The partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has been a revelation, and the team has actually benefited from not playing any European football and being knocked out early in both the League Cup and FA Cup competitions.
Why Liverpool Will Win: In its final two remaining matches, Liverpool won’t have to face a team with the defensive prowess of Chelsea. Although its final matches away to Crystal Palace and at home to Newcastle won’t be guaranteed, Liverpool should take six points from them with ease. And, as mentioned earlier, you can almost count on a Manchester City slip up, which would give Liverpool the title.
Why Liverpool Will Blow It: If Liverpool does lose the title, it will most likely be on goal differential. The Reds will be kicking themselves over the 46 goals allowed (and counting). A stingier defense and Suarez actually showing up for big matches — he hasn’t scored a single goal in five matches against the other top four sides — would have probably already wrapped up the league for Liverpool.
Chelsea sit in a strange position. While the club has had a strong season, it may not collect a single trophy, despite an extended run in the Champions League and being in contention for the Premier League title the entire season. Either trophy would have made this season a huge success, but after being knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday, it seems that a season without a trophy is Chelsea’s fate.
Why Chelsea Will Win: Chelsea will win because Mourinho is an evil warlock. Although his tactics have been criticized by many as cynical, there’s no real debate over their effectiveness. “The Special One” has taken a club with striker options that include an underwhelming Demba Ba, the ancient Samuel Eto’o, and Fernando Torres’ corpse and made it a legitimate contender at the highest levels. Whether you like his tactics or not (and, to be clear, I loathe them), he just might be the best strategic mind in football. Damnit.
Why Chelsea Will Blow It: Did I mention Fernando Torres’ corpse yet? Whereas Liverpool has so far scored 96 goals, and City 93, The Blues have only managed a paltry 69. Combine that with some surprising defeats to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, and Sunderland, and Chelsea will need both City and Liverpool to slip up.
Prediction: Liverpool takes the title after City draw one of its final home games.
Previously from Charlie Crespo:
♦ Viral Video of the Week: Dani Alves Punks Racist Fan
♦ Everything You Think You Know About Your Bed is a Lie
♦ Viral Video of the Week: Dog Athlete Attempts World Record Long Jump
♦ Viral Video of the Week: Local News is Great in Other Countries Too
♦ Once Again, Beer is Here to Save Us All