Off To The Races!!!

In one of the tightest races in over a decade, English Premier League fans will gaze on in admiration as three European giants battle it out for the title. Together, Manchester United, Chelsea F.C., and Arsenal F.C. are responsible for winning the last 14 Premier League trophies, and it’s quite fitting that they’ll all slug it out for the last two months this year.  In 1999, the clubs of interest finished within four points of each other, but things haven’t been nearly as close since then.

The 2009-2010 season has featured several big headlines, and has truly thrown the pundits for a loop. In Manchester, the consensus was that Ronaldo’s departure would leave Sir Alex Ferguson, especially after an early-season defeat to Burnley, looking up at the rest of the pack. Chelsea came out roaring, winning their first 6 games easily, and hailing some to proclaim Carlo Ancelotti the manager to get the job done, but inconsistent performances have gotten the best of the Blues. Arsenal turned even more heads on opening day, after a 6-1 thrashing of Everton at Goodison Park; but also found it hard to compete with the big boys when it counted. Overall though, each team has had ups and downs, and we’ve ended up here… 2 points of separation, with 7 games to play.

But that’s not the only story. While the title chasers grab the headlines, there are two other races that are tighter than a drum. There’s the race for 4th, and with it a Champions League slot, which features four very competitive teams, again separated by just a few points.

While Tottenham has enjoyed their spot in the top 4 most of the season, they’ve had Man City, Liverpool, and Aston Villas nipping at their heels from the get-go. Though Spurs have the advantage now, they’ll have to face Man United, Arsenal, and Chelsea (in three straight weeks no less) before season’s end. Man City and Aston Villa have not played well lately, and face equally trying schedules. While Liverpool, despite their fewer games remaining, have three more fixtures against teams in the relegation scrap. Tough to say who the favorite is, but either way, a new member of the top 4 is looking more and more plausible.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, desperate times call for desperate measures. Portsmouth has basically conceded to defeat after their 10-point administration penalty, and Hull City finally sacked boss Phil Brown, although many Tigers fans would have liked to see it happen about 11 months earlier.

In order for Gianfranco Zola to keep his job, he’ll have to keep West Ham afloat, which may be tough considering Burnley’s got a slightly easier schedule and gets to play 4 more games as Turf Moor.  However, teams like Wigan (who’s schedule is less than desirable) and Wolves (who may have found a slight goal scoring touch) are still threats to go down as well. Fulham proved two seasons ago that battling back to avoid the drop is certainly possible thanks to Mathematics, but things certainly look grim for the three “favorites” right now.


One Response to Off To The Races!!!

  1. Pingback: European Football 09/10… A Historic Ending « Whit's Sport Weblog

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