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Just over half way, so how does it look?

Chelsea have just a 5 point lead over their closest rivals Liverpool, but our run of 13 wins on the bounce has created a media hyperbole about our title chances. The hard evidence points to the fact that bar the home demolition of United, so far we have not looked superior in any of our games against our top 5 rivals. The immediate return games coming up against Liverpool and Arsenal will give a much clearer picture as to how good we really are, and there is still the fear that we may be over dependent on Costa to stay fit and keep his form.

Liverpool on the other hand appear to be a team not especially dependent on any individual player and have the trump card of Daniel Sturridge to fill in for Mane during ACON. They have a great team spirit and Anfield really does now look like the fortress of old. Their defense is not as bad as some would make out, but it is clearly their achilles heel and they don't appear to have a goal keeper that will win them points. Something that title winning teams usually have.

Spurs have the best defense in the league when all fully fit and a top draw keeper. They are on a decent run that has coincided with a return to goal scoring form of Harry Kane and the evolution of Deli Ali. If these two can keep scoring goals then Spurs will have a real shout at the title because they are not going to concede many, but like Chelsea, there is the suspicion they might be too dependent on their main striker to produce the goods.

Manchester United had an awful start and maybe they have lost too much ground in the first half of the season to win the title now, but they look to be in a winning groove and they have a manager who is used to taking teams on long winning runs. They are the one club still looking to spend really big and they already have the deepest squad of all the top teams. A win against Liverpool this weekend and they are most certainly back in the title race.

Arsenal, to be honest I just don't fancy them. Mainly because it just feels like groundhog day with Wenger and the players that he has. They need to put down a marker in the matches against the other top 5 teams or they have zero chance of the title.

Likewise with City. they just don't look like a team at the moment. Their defense is awful, but to compound that they also have one of the worst goal keepers to have ever graced the PL. Despite their great manager and some wonderful individual players I don't see them winning the title this season.

comment by BlueJ2 (U4630)

posted on 11/1/17

I agree with almost everything the OP said - except regarding Man City. When they show their true colours they are the best team in the league - which is what West Ham discovered on Monday. They have been too inconsistent, that's true - but when Silva is playing well they win. I do believe they will start to gain some consistency, and should not be counted out yet.

Amazing season though - I don't remember a time when there were this many teams in January still all capable of winning the league. Has it ever happened before?

comment by No Love (U1282)

posted on 11/1/17

If we have a poor run people will put it down to Mane even though that's kinda stupid to think.

posted on 11/1/17

Good article Biggish.

For us it depends on what really happens with Dele and to a lesser extent Eriksen this season.

What we are missing which everyone of those other sides have is that dangerous attacking mid/winger etc (Hazard, Sanchez, Coutinho, De Bruyne etc) if Dele carries on like he is then I think it could be us.

As good as Chelsea are, and Conte is, I still maintain Matic and Alonso is so weak (as is Cahill). It's just a team a year away from winning the title. But if they do so this season it is 10000% credit to Conte as your squad is thin and has gaping holes in some areas.

posted on 12/1/17

comment by Ace (U18814)
posted 20 hours, 4 minutes ago
comment by White Wall (U1078)
posted 24 seconds ago
comment by Ace (U18814)
posted 46 seconds ago
If we (Spurs) didn't have Europe to worry about I think we could win the title this season. Our first 14-15 players are as good as any in this league; quality keeper backed up by a granite defence and quality DM's, some good attacking midfielders and an excellent striker. Few weaknesses in the squad for sure but we are close. But I think when Europe kicks back in we wil struggle to maintain our charge, similarly to last season, and Chelsea will probably win a closely fought battle with Liverpool. Utd to get top 4, Spurs and Arsenal to battle it out for 4th, think city will fade away and focus on the CL.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Ace, do you think you ran of steam a bit last year?

Is it likely to happpen again, or is Poch trying to rotate his players more this year?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Yeah I do, we were flying from December to April, but we had a blip where we had to play home & away in the Europa last 16 plus West Ham and Arsenal in 9 days. We took one point in the two league games and that hurt us. From there we never looked like catching up, plus the squad had an average age of 23 and probably mentally capitulated somewhat. Hopefully that experience will have helped them grow.

We have a better squad this season. Even though Janssen isn't scoring his presence means Kane came come off at 70mins instead of playing 90+ of every game like last year. Plus Wanyama's presence means Dembele can be rotated more and Dier is freed up to give CB relief. We have improved on last year, being 6 points better off after the same amount of games, but the league is stronger at the top and the more dramatic improvements of Chelsea & Liverpool shades our own progress a bit.

Hard to say whether it'll happen again, if we make serious progress in the EL we may elect to focus on that. We have better options and the experience gained from last year, so I hope we can utilise them and push at the top of the table again.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

You rested players for those Europa 16 games.

Big clubs like Chelsea United play last 16 CL games and still challenge for titles on a regular basis.

If you want to be a big club, you need to lose small club mentality and excuses

posted on 12/1/17

People writing city off too early

posted on 12/1/17

If Manchester United beat Liverpool they are certainly in the race.

My January prediction for the end of season rankings is:

1. Chelsea
2. Arsenal
3. Tottenham
4. City or United
Liverpool

There is no big quality gap between Chelsea and Spurs. What Chelsea have is a more robust squad, an extra "world class player" and no European football. What Spurs have over everyone else is unquestionably the best defence.

Arsenal will comfortably finish top 4 and probably ahead of Spurs. Wenger has this down to an art form. Their season will implode but once the pressure is off the players they will win almost every game in the run in.

I think United and/or City will finish ahead of Liverpool, who probably peaked to early. It's also possible that Klopps rigorous pressing style fatigues them. It's actually a tough call as all those three are more or less equal in terms of quality.

comment by Ace (U18814)

posted on 12/1/17

comment by CFC: FFP Champions (U20729)
posted 2 hours, 4 minutes ago
comment by Ace (U18814)
posted 20 hours, 4 minutes ago
comment by White Wall (U1078)
posted 24 seconds ago
comment by Ace (U18814)
posted 46 seconds ago
If we (Spurs) didn't have Europe to worry about I think we could win the title this season. Our first 14-15 players are as good as any in this league; quality keeper backed up by a granite defence and quality DM's, some good attacking midfielders and an excellent striker. Few weaknesses in the squad for sure but we are close. But I think when Europe kicks back in we wil struggle to maintain our charge, similarly to last season, and Chelsea will probably win a closely fought battle with Liverpool. Utd to get top 4, Spurs and Arsenal to battle it out for 4th, think city will fade away and focus on the CL.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Ace, do you think you ran of steam a bit last year?

Is it likely to happpen again, or is Poch trying to rotate his players more this year?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Yeah I do, we were flying from December to April, but we had a blip where we had to play home & away in the Europa last 16 plus West Ham and Arsenal in 9 days. We took one point in the two league games and that hurt us. From there we never looked like catching up, plus the squad had an average age of 23 and probably mentally capitulated somewhat. Hopefully that experience will have helped them grow.

We have a better squad this season. Even though Janssen isn't scoring his presence means Kane came come off at 70mins instead of playing 90+ of every game like last year. Plus Wanyama's presence means Dembele can be rotated more and Dier is freed up to give CB relief. We have improved on last year, being 6 points better off after the same amount of games, but the league is stronger at the top and the more dramatic improvements of Chelsea & Liverpool shades our own progress a bit.

Hard to say whether it'll happen again, if we make serious progress in the EL we may elect to focus on that. We have better options and the experience gained from last year, so I hope we can utilise them and push at the top of the table again.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

You rested players for those Europa 16 games.

Big clubs like Chelsea United play last 16 CL games and still challenge for titles on a regular basis.

If you want to be a big club, you need to lose small club mentality and excuses
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Oh fack off you boring tw*t. Still not over your mid life crisis? Jeez.

comment by Superb (U6486)

posted on 12/1/17

As good as Chelsea are, and Conte is, I still maintain Matic and Alonso is so weak (as is Cahill). It's just a team a year away from winning the title. But if they do so this season it is 10000% credit to Conte as your squad is thin and has gaping holes in some areas.

------------------------------------------------------

This

Only bit I slightly take issue with is Cahill as he's a good CB, albeit one with weaknesses to his game although that can probably said for just about any player really.

Matic and Alonso are undoubtedly weak links though and just too slow and cumbersome against top class PL opposition as the game against Spurs showed.

posted on 12/1/17

http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11661/10719085/the-soccer-saturday-pundits-pick-their-premier-league-champions

posted on 12/1/17

Zlatan, I'm probably alone on this point, but, while he has been great if not, at times, extraordinary, Sadio hasn't exactly been 100% on the boil for the past 4-5 games. There's been times when he just hasn't got into the game.

The point I'm making is that he has been less influential than he has been the past.

Will he be missed by us on Sunday? 100%. But Jurgen will have a plan. Whether or not it works is another matter, esp after last night.

JimmyTheRed

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