As we approach the halfway point of the Premier League season, the top five teams are beginning to break away from the chasing pack.
Tottenham’s last-gasp victory over West Ham on Saturday widened the gap to sixth-placed Manchester United to five points.
We’re definitely getting an idea of which teams will be fighting for the title right until the death. Just three points separate leaders Liverpool from Spurs.
Article continues below
All of the top five teams have something to shout out. Liverpool’s front three looks unstoppable, Manchester City have settled incredibly well under Pep Guardiola and welcomed the return of Yaya Toure yesterday.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are thriving in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 system and Mesut Ozil is playing superbly for Arsenal. As for Tottenham, well they have one of the best strikers in Europe in Harry Kane.
Article continues below
So there’s not much to complain about.
Rio Ferdinand's tweet
Yet Rio Ferdinand believes the title contenders would have made their task a little easier had they invested in one player: Jermain Defoe.
Defoe scored his 150th Premier League goal in Sunderland’s 3-0 win against Hull City on Saturday, joining the likes of Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen in achieving the feat.
And Ferdinand believes any of the top four teams should have made a move for the striker.
The United hero tweeted: “How a top 4 club hasn’t bought @IAmJermainDefoe over the years? 150goals-Would have been perfect starting or off the bench. Congratulations”.
Gary Lineker had the perfect reply
We understand what Ferdinand is saying, but there is a slight problem with his argument.
Tottenham finished in the top four last season, and they’ve signed Defoe. Twice.
The traditional top four includes the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea, but the rise of Liverpool and Spurs has changed the status quo. That said, Tottenham couldn't be considered a top four contender in 2004 or 2009, both of the years they signed Defoe.
Gary Lineker hit back at Ferdinand by pointing out that, in 2015-16, Mauricio Pochettino’s team was good enough for the top four.
Defoe: It feels amazing
Some think it beggars belief that Defoe can claim to have done no better than two spells at Tottenham. He could certainly do better than Sunderland, who recorded just their second win of the season yesterday.
Reflecting on his achievement, Defoe said: “It feels amazing,” per Chronicle Live.
“The manager said some nice things about me in his pre-match press conference about me reaching 150, but to get it at home in front of these fans is special.
“I wanted to do it at the Stadium of Light so to do it here in a big game that we’ve won, and earn back-to-back wins, was meant to be, and I believe it was meant to happen like this so I’m delighted.”
The 34-year-old jumped to joint-seventh in the Premier League’s all-time top scorers’ list.
After overtaking Les Ferdinand, next in his sights is Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who scored 163 goals.