Chatting with a Man U supporter friend the other day, he vented his frustrations on their current season to a point where he made a passing comment that he’s so fed up, he might cancel his cable t.v. It’s silly (considering other team supporters endure much worse), but more importantly, I pointed out that he would be missing out on one of the best EPL seasons to date. If the season continues the same way it did in the first half, this will be one of the closest and most exciting finishes for supporters of all clubs.
A lot has been written and said about how close teams are fighting for the title, for a spot in Champs League, or even avoiding relegation. I had a closer look at the table today, the gap between teams is actually a lot closer than the usually mentioned teams and on closer investigation, I believe nearly every team will could have something to play for come end of the season.
Let’s have a look at the ladder again:
English Premier League table – 15/01/14
I’ve highlighted 4 areas on the table and here are my thoughts:
Title contenders. A lot of football posts are already stating this will be a 3 horse race to the finish. I’m not entirely convinced just yet. If you read my first post, you’ll know I’m a Liverpool supporter, and to get my biased view out of the way first, I actually don’t believe Liverpool will/can win the title this year. I’m purely hoping for a spot in the Champions League.
Now, from a football point of view, I included Liverpool for now because of their lethal strikeforce SAS. I dare say, they are currently on form the most dangerous forward pairing in the Premier League. If Rodgers can pull another miracle January transfer window to tighten up the defence and add depth to the midfield, they can give the front runners a run for their money.
Everton, I have them in there as an extreme outsider. They’re playing great football at the moment (much better than Moyes’ Everton team ironically), and they’ve lost the least games. Sound defence, if the transfer window adds more strike power and the higher teams drop games (remember Man C’s bad away form?), who knows what might happen.
Champs League contenders. At the moment, I see 3 spots taken already for UCL. I’ve got all my fingers crossed for Liverpool to steal 4th spot. But I just can’t write off consistent Everton, revitalised Tottenham or Fergie’s Man U. Everton and Tottenham both have picked up form. Man U can still look forward to Rooney and RVP becoming fit again.
Europa League contenders. Chances are, Europa League will go to one of the four teams that are fighting for 4th spot, however, I’ve extended Newcastle and Southampton in this group. Whilst the teams are fighting it out for 4th, Newcastle’s been winning the necessary games to stay in touch (have been unlucky with refs lately too) and if Southampton can pick up their early season form again, they might just make a late run-in for the 5th spot.
Relegation battle. Although there are some front runners for relegation, looking closely at the table, 10th place Hull is only 6 points away from last place. Yes, they may have claimed some big scalps and had some big winning margins at Home, but their away form is keeping them thereabouts. With upsets happening left right centre, anything can happen in the bottom half of the table.
So what are your thoughts on this season? Are you as happy as I am at the closeness of the league? For me, I keenly hope the table continues to be this close and exciting come the final month of the season. Even regardless of whether Liverpool end up in Champions League, this for me has been one of the most exciting seasons to date.