Ask a hundred people who will win the English Premier league this year and 55 will say Chelsea, while the remaining 45 would probably say Manchester City. But is it the craziest thing to throw Manchester United into the mix?
Now that you’re back from falling off your chair – here’s why I think you’d be silly to write them off.
Chelsea, to me, are the clear favourites for the title this season. They have the best manager of the three in Mourinho, and have arguably made the best signings during the summer. Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa (above) have been the form players in the Premiership so far this season. Costa has nine goals in his opening seven games and Fabregas has seven assists to go with his single goal.
The only thing that could stop Chelsea winning the league, would be Costa’s hamstring. He has been struggling with it since last season and Mourinho has stated that his striker won’t be able to play twice in a single week. Costa didn’t play this week against Crystal Palace in the league or the 6-0 drubbing of Maribor in the Champions League because of that injury. Without the Spanish striker, Chelsea don’t really have a potent front man. Drogba is in the Autumn of his career and Remy isn’t really the world class material that could win a top club the league or Champions league.
Chelsea are still competing in four competitions (Premier League, Champions League, Capital One Cup and FA Cup). If Costa’s hamstring is as bad as Mourinho makes out, there’s no ways he’d be able to play all these games. Chelsea will play 17 games in November and December (10 PL, 3 CL, 2 FA, 2 C.O.C)
They are likely to win the league – but if they get a few injuries with their build-up of games, they may struggle.
Manchester City have the best squad in the league, there is no doubt about that. They could have two teams in the league, as they have two or three players for each position on the field.
Leading the line is Argentinian striker, Sergio Aguero. The City hit-man is also slightly injury prone but, unlike Chelsea, they have fantastic back-up strikers. Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic provide a great front line for the defending champions.
With the likes of Silva, Toure, Nasri and now Lampard assisting the strikers, City will be able to handle the busy fixture pile-up. The noisy neighbours will play the same amount of matches as Chelsea (17).
Manchester United already find themselves 10 points behind Chelsea (as at time of writing – 23 Oct) in the league. They have had a disastrous start, losing to Swansea and Leicester and unable to beat Sunderland, Burnley or West Brom. With an easy start to the season, many people thought the red devils would be leading the way after 10 games.
With Chelsea and City in their next two games, United will see it as an opportunity to pull some points back in the title race. Last season they finished 7th in the league, too low to qualify for the Champions League or even the Europa League. They then lost 4-0 to League One side MK Dons in the Capital One cup, leaving them in only the League and FA Cup.
United will only play 10 matches over November and December, meaning they will be a lot fresher and have far less chances of picking up injuries going into 2015. Like Liverpool proved last season, having no European commitments is a huge advantage in a 10 month season.
If the new United signings like Blind, Falcao, Rojo, Shaw and Herrera can start to gel with the likes of Mata, Rooney and Van Persie, United may surprise a few of us towards the back end of the season. This will surely be clearer after the January transfer window. If they don’t invest in high quality, strong central defenders like Matt Hummels, they won’t be able to continue outscoring their opposition.
I have always disliked Manchester United but being a fan of underdogs, which sadly they have become, I wouldn’t mind seeing them at least push the top two this season to make it exciting. Having said that, I’d rather stab myself in the eye than see them win the league.