EPL: Manchester City, Chelsea lead two-horse race


One short month ago, the EPL title race was shaping up as a runaway for Chelsea. Manchester City was stumbling through the league and Southampton, while a fun Cinderella story, never seemed like a true contender. Chelsea sat atop the table with 32 points while Southampton and City had managed 26 and 24 points, respectively.

Fast forward to present time and my how things have changed. Manchester City has raced through the last month, winning their last five league games and both of their Champions League match-ups. Meanwhile, Chelsea stumbled, first dropping points in a draw against Sunderland before losing to Newcastle. Now, the two teams are separated by just three points heading into the busy holiday season.

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Meanwhile, Southampton crashed and burned, managing just four points the last month. Manchester United have found their form, making a run into third place, but still sitting seven points behind second and 10 points out of first, a significant amount of points to make up against two quality sides. Quickly, this title race appears to have turned into a two-team marathon during 2015 for the title.

City certainly has the momentum on their side, but they have some big decisions to make in the January transfer window. First, the decision on Frank Lampard, who has played a vital role in their season so far but is set to return back to the MLS at the first of the year. With expansion club NYCFC in need of their star signing for the start of the season, City will have a big decision on their hands.

On top of the possible loss of Lampard is also the impending departure of Yaya Toure, who will be out for roughly a month while competing in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the Ivory Coast. After a slow start, Toure has turned it around and is looking much closer to his form of last year, which was vital in City’s run to the title. The possibility of being down two midfielders certainly will have City looking for replacements.

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  • Add on top of that the injury bug that has bitten City’s three strikers, leaving them without a natural, first-team striker, and the noisy neighbors in Manchester have their work cut out for them. They could look to bring in another striker, but a big signing in January is rarely made.

    Fortunately for City, their schedule lightens up over the coming weeks, with matches at West Brom, vs. Burnley and Sunderland, and at Everton giving them the chance to get healthy.

    Chelsea, however, is stumbling into the holiday break. After a brilliant start, they have looked beatable in recent matches. Much like City, though, their schedule allows them a chance to regain their footing, though quite to the extent of City. The next four matches for Jose Mourinho’s bunch include a road game at Southampton, at Tottenham, home against Newcastle, and at Swansea.

    However, Chelsea has the luxury of less squad issues. Their key players (aside from possibly Diego Costa) have stayed healthy for the chunk of the season. That isn’t to say they won’t break down, especially with Chelsea still competing in four competitions: Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, and Capital One Cup, which is more than City who were booted out of the Capital One Cup.

    This all sets up the biggest match-up of the season with the two sides squaring off at Stamford Bridge on January 31. It’s safe to assume that the two sides will still be top of the table and this will certainly have big ramifications on the league going forward. A veteran City side with players who have played together for many years and won titles against a Chelsea squad full of talent but possible not sharing the same chemistry as City.

    Nonetheless, it’s safe to assume that these two seem ready to pull away from the league and give us another fantastic finish to the Premier League. Buckle up, soccer fans. We still have a lot of fun to be had this EPL season!

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