With nine game left Liverpool are at 3/1 odds on to win the Premier League title after a 3-0 win away at Old Trafford. Some people will think that because it will have been 8,786 days since Liverpool last won England's top division, that Liverpool are still outsiders. But here is why they have the title in their hands and it is theirs to lose.
Liverpool are currently four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand. Arsenal are level on points with Liverpool but 16 goals behind on goal difference. Manchester City are are six points behind Chelsea with three games in hand.
Probably the outsiders of the four teams, Arsenal are the only team in the top four remaining in the FA Cup. Whilst this is only two extra games Arsene Wenger would be a fool to underestimate FA Cup holders and Championship promotion chasers Wigan Athletic in the semi-final.
Furthermore underestimating potential finalists Sheffield United of League One and Hull City who are mid-table in the Premier League. Wenger will certainly focus on the FA Cup as the competition is there for the taking for Arsenal, and Wenger knows top four and the FA Cup is a massive success for Arsenal, especially after recent injuries to Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil.
Whilst the last five games are favourable to Arsenal, they still have to face Chelsea and Everton away from home and Manchester City at home. If Wenger can pull off a win at Stamford Bridge and hand Mourinho his first home league loss at Chelsea then it will look a lot easier for Arsenal, especially after proving time and time again that Arsenal can win the ugly way, which before this season seemed impossible.
But even then there's still the distraction of the FA Cup and two very difficult games in Manchester City and Everton. However the majority of their games are at home so ruling Arsenal out altogether is not an option right now, they are however the outsiders, but not necessarily the team who will finish fourth.
Manchester City are in deep problems at this point. At the end of January City were looking unstoppable, beating Tottenham 5-1 away from home and destroying West Ham 9-0 on aggregate in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
However a home loss to Chelsea in the league was so important in bringing City's spirits down. They were then dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona and recently out of the FA Cup by Wigan who beat them in the competition's final last season. Furthermore, the Capital One Cup has a history of destroying the winner's season, Birmingham in 2011, Tottenham in 2008 and Liverpool in 2012 in recent years. Could it happen again this year?
Very possibly. One of City's games in hand is against Manchester United away. Whilst United's season isn't going brilliantly, Vincent Kompany is banned and the Red Devils will know there is no better way to bounce back. City also have Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool away to play. City also face a trip to Crystal Palace who could be scrapping relegation at that point, Selhurst Park is not an easy place to go, especially when Palace want to win.
This could potentially be a title loser for City. City will miss captain Kompany who is suspended for three games (Fulham, Man Utd and Arsenal) however they are not in any other competitions and can focus solely on the league.
Chelsea have a game against Galatasaray in the Champions League that looks highly winnable, this means they could have up to six extra potential games, assuming they get to the Champions League final, which is not impossible, but there are stronger teams. With this issue put to the side Chelsea are still in trouble. Chelsea have played 30 games whilst every other teams have at least one game in hand.
Whilst a win this weekend for Arsenal is unlikely, a draw is easily possible especially when you consider the midweek game and also that Willian and Ramires will miss three games, Ramires could miss more. These players may not seem crucial but these two are Chelsea's hardest working players and a lot of running will be lost without these two. Chelsea are still to play Arsenal, Crystal Palace (away), and also Cardiff Swansea, who like Palace, could be a very difficult places to go. The big game is where the title could change course however.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea could be all important in deciding the title. Being played at Anfield and being the 3rd last game of the season Liverpool could jump over Chelsea after this match, remember Liverpool have a game in hand and superior goal difference.
Liverpool's remaining fixtures up until then read Cardiff (A), Sunderland (H), Tottenham (H), West Ham (A), Man City (H) then Norwich (A) before facing Chelsea at home. The final two games being Crystal Palace (A) and Newcastle (H).
The fact is it's not an easy ending to the season, but it's easier considering Crystal Palace could be relegated by that point and their games leading up to the Chelsea game looks as if nothing will be decided by then. Then, all the games vs. big teams are at home. The fact of the matter is, if Liverpool win all the rest of their games, unlikely but possible, then the title is theirs. There are no distractions and just one mid week game (Sunderland at home).
With Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard, Henderson and Sterling in top form Liverpool's attack is not their issue, their defence is. However with Mamadou Sakho back from injury it's certainly looking better for them.
In my opinion, looking from a neutral point of view with a slight bias to Arsenal, Liverpool are my clear favourites. I can't see them losing at home and all away games come at good times for them, with the exception of maybe Crystal Palace.
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