After this past weeks midweek league games, the race for the league title, Champion’s League spots, and Europa League have blown wide open. U.S.A’s Landon Donovan was a huge part in the shock 1-0 victory over Manchester City, as he provided the assist to newly transferred Darron Gibson. The other surprise’s this week was The Gunners tie to bottom of the table Bolton Wanderers, and Chelsea’s tie to giant killers Swansea. The rest of the clubs currently fighting within all came out victorious in their recent fixtures including a 2-0 victory for Manchester United over Stoke City, Tottenham 3-1 over Wigan, Newcastle 2-0 against a struggling Blackburn side, and surging Liverpool 3-1 over Wolverhampton.
With both Manchester clubs at 54 points and 5 points ahead of third place Tottenham, one can only assume that the race for the premiership has almost dwindled down to the rival teams. There is no doubt that Tottenham can make a run, but with the United and City are playing I cannot see both teams dropping 5 points while Hotspurs make a flawless run to jump both clubs. With that being said I believe that those three clubs have definitely locked their place for a Champions League spot. Chelsea are clinging on to the fourth spot currently, but despite not dropping full points as of late, their performances have struggled. Their defense is aging and often are not consistent, Juan Mata started off hot but has recently cooled off, there is the Fernando Torres situation (which I feel differently about), and where have the likes of Malouda, Drogba (yes, I am aware of the ANC), Meireles, and Kalou, who were all vital to the club last season (not Meireles) have been relatively useless. I don’t see them being in the top 4 at the end of the season, 5th is probable, but I see them getting beat out.
Arsenal and Newcastle are also two clubs that I see not being a part of the top 4. Newcastle started off hot, but plagued by injury and the loss of a few players to the African Nations Cup, they have dropped off. With that being said, I think Newcastle are just a few players short of being part of the elite group of clubs. Give them a season or two, and if they can make the right moves, hang on to Demba Ba and Tim Krul, I can see the Toon’s being fierce in the EPL. Arsenal are in a similar situation. They have been hot in the mid-season with RVP being arguably the best player in the league. But a few injuries here and there and another big blow to future hopeful Jack Wilshere, the Gunners are currently sitting in 7th and I don’t see them moving out of that spot. Which would bet their first time since the 95-96 campaign that Arsenal did not find their name in the Champion’s league qualification.
Finally this brings me to the current sixth place team, Liverpool. Liverpool have ridden an emotional roller coaster so far. Showing signs of brilliance and horrid 90 minute displays. However, I believe this is going to be the season that Liverpool get themselves back into the Champions League since the 08-09′ season. Why? well for one Steven Gerrard has certainly boosted the squad and trouble maker Luiz Suarez is also finally set to return this upcoming week. Andy Carroll is starting to find his feet, and players such as Charlie Adam, Craig Bellamy, and Dirk Kuyt have all been playing exceptionally well this season. On paper the Reds have all the right players to be extremely successful, and I believe they are starting to put themselves in the right form to reclaim their fame.
Final season prediction’s:
1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
About the Author
Written by Stephen Gonzalez
My name is Stephen Gonzalez, I am from Houston, TX. 23 year old psychology major with a minor in English. I love all sports, with the exception of NASCAR (if you even consider that a sport) and baseball is boarder line entertaining after about 158 games have passed. Huge Manchester United fan and an avid soccer fan.