Last season, Manchester City were the runaway winners of the Premier League, clinching their title with several games to go, although in truth, they were always so far ahead of the rest of the teams chasing them that from Christmas onwards, it was only a matter of time before they were eventually crowned as deserving Champions.
However, this season has been a little different. While Chelsea’s early challenge has fallen away, and Manchester United’s poor early season form means that they are not really in with a realistic chance of title success, there are still three teams very much hoping that at the end of the season they can lay claim to the title. They are Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
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So if you are going to have a flutter, who should you be putting your money on? In this article, we are going to focus solely on each teams last 11 Premier League games, work out how we think they will perform over the games leading up to the last day and then give you our opinion as to whether we could see another final day showdown, or whether the title will be decided before then.
Premier League Top 3
As you can see, Liverpool hold a one-point advantage over Manchester City in second with Tottenham a further five points behind City in third. Spurs goal difference is also markedly inferior to both the top two, which could be a factor if the title race is to go into the final day.
There are 11 games remaining in the Premier League season for all three teams, and all three are in action tonight with the first of those games. The full list of games for each team is outlined below. The schedule shown for each matchday is tentative as fixtures may need to be changed and played at a different time due to cup games and fixture congestion.
Premier League Run In
|Match Number||Liverpool||Manchester City||Tottenham|
|28||V Watford (H)||V West Ham (H)||V Chelsea (A)|
|29||V Everton (A)||V Bournemouth (A)||V Arsenal (H)|
|30||V Burnley (H)||V Watford (H)||V Southampton (A)|
|31||V Fulham (A)||V Fulham (A)||V Crystal Palace (H)|
|32||V Tottenham (H)||V Cardiff City (H)||V Liverpool (A)|
|33||V Southampton (A)||V Crystal Palace (A)||V Brighton (H)|
|34||V Chelsea (H)||V Tottenham (H)||V Huddersfield (H)|
|35||V Cardiff City (A)||V Man Utd (A)||V Man City (A)|
|36||V Huddersfield (H)||V Burnley (A)||V West Ham (H)|
|37||V Newcastle (A)||V Leicester (H)||V Bournemouth (A)|
|38||V Wolves (H)||V Brighton (A)||V Everton (H)|
How many points will each team collect?
Each team has a maximum of 33 points available to be won, should Liverpool claim all those points, then regardless of what Manchester City or Tottenham do, then the Reds would be the new Premier League title winners.
However, given their recent form which has seen them draw three of their last four Premier League games, it is hard to see Liverpool winning every game from now until the end of the season, even though of all three teams they do seem to have the slightly easier run in compared to Man City and a much easier run in compared to what Tottenham face.
As such, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect Liverpool to take between 26-29 points from the games left available to them, which would leave the Reds with between 92 and 95 points.
Similarly, Manchester City are in such outstanding form at the moment that I can see them also earning the majority of points from their games. I also feel that like Liverpool, they will win most games but I also feel that with a very hectic schedule, especially if they go deep in the Champions League and reach the FA Cup Final, I also feel the effects of fatigue and possibly injuries could have an impact on City moreso than Liverpool.
As such, while City look invincible at the moment, I feel it is going to be difficult for them to keep that up in every single game and like Liverpool, I can see them dropping points on the run in and I’d expect them to also take between 26 and 29 points from their games, leaving them with between 91 and 94 points.
It looks a bit of a gloomier picture if you are a Tottenham fan to be honest, especially with four games against the top six and some difficult very tough away games, as well as the small matter of four London derby games. I can’t quite see Spurs matching the pace set by the other teams and while I’d expect them to pick up about 20-22 points, that would leave them well short of being in the title race at the end of the season.
So, by those calculations, it does look like the final games of the season could well be the decisive ones in deciding where the league title eventually lands in May. Will it be Liverpool celebrating in front of their home crowd at Anfield, or will City’s fans be lauding their sides title success on the road at Brighton on the final day?
Before you race away to make your bet on the Premier League winner, there are a number of other factors beyond the run in for each team to consider heading into the last few matches of the season.
We have already talked about how fixture congestion could be a problem. If Liverpool went out of the Champions League to Bayern Munich, and if Man City were to go on and reach the Champions League final and the FA Cup Final, that would mean City playing eight more matches than Liverpool over this period which would then raise questions over fatigue and injuries.
Especially when you consider City have lost Aymeric Laporte for around five games and midfielder Fernandinho is also reportedly a doubt for their next few games. Both of whom have been key players.
Another thing to consider is pressure. Liverpool are under huge pressure from their own fans to lift their first Premier League title since 1990 and that is certainly influencing how the team performs. City are more used to the pressure having won multiple Premier League titles in recent years and there’s no doubt that City’s squad also has greater depth than Liverpool and they also win games more easily when they play well.
The other thing to note is injuries. Injuries to key men at key times can derail a season and they can happen at any time. So it is not just a case of being fit and healthy, but remaining fit and healthy for players at the clubs if they are to maintain their title challenge.
Despite all that, I do expect the Premier League title race to go down to the last day and while Manchester City are the favourites to win it, something tells me that Liverpool will still have plenty to say and could well spring a surprise come the final day.