With just five more match weeks to go, the race for the EPL has entered its last leg, with one clear leader, in Manchester United.
Match week 33 saw a dramatic change in the hierarchy, with Chelsea leap-frogging over Arsenal into second place. Can either Chelsea or Arsenal upset Manchester United, in a photo-finish?
Currently, United have 70 points, while Chelsea and Arsenal are tied on 64 points each.
To analyze the chances of the three contenders, let’s first take a look at their remaining games. Manchester United have three home games and two matches on the road, and so do Chelsea. Arsenal are due to host two games and play three away from the Emirates.
United’s three home games are scheduled to be played with Everton, Chelsea and Blackpool, while their away games involve encounters with Arsenal and Blackburn.
The Old Trafford squad have had an excellent unbeaten record at home, and there’s no reason to believe they cannot sustain that record before 75,000 screaming supporters, against any opposition. Everton have impressed against the marquee teams, this season, but the best they could hope for, at Old Trafford, would be a draw. I shall therefore assume a worst case scenario for United, in which both Everton and Chelsea manage draws at Old Trafford. I shall further assume that Sir Alex’s squad beat Blackpool at home, and manage to salvage a point each from their away games against Arsenal and Blackburn. That would give United 7 additional points, thereby taking them to an aggregate of 77.
How much can Chelsea benefit, in such a scenario? Chelsea have home games against West Ham and Newcastle that they can hope to win. The third game to be hosted at Stamford Bridge is against Tottenham, a game that could end in a draw. We have already considered a possible draw in Chesea’s away game at Old Trafford. That would leave Ancelotti’s men with an away game with Everton, another tough proposition. In a best case scenario, that game would also be drawn, and thus, their five remaining games would net Chelsea 9 points, taking them to an aggregate of 73 points.
Arsenal’s fortunes would hinge on their home game against Man United. Assuming that they won the game, that would reduce United’s aggregate down to 74, from the 77 points assumed earlier in the article, provided Blackpool also salvaged a draw at Old Trafford. A win in their other home game with Aston Villa and 2 draws and a win in three away games against Bolton, Stoke and Fulham would earn Arsenal 11 additional points, and take them to an aggregate of 75, one point ahead of United, on 74, and 2 points ahead of Chelsea, on 73.So, for Arsenal to win the Premier League, they would have to beat United, and trust Chelsea, Everton and Blackpool to steal a point each at Old Trafford. That said, winning away against any of Bolton, Stoke and Fulham is easier said than done.
But don’t go away — stranger things have happened.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.