Now that all of the top four English Premier League teams have had a chance to play each other, we find ourselves looking at one of the most wide open title races in recent memory. As of this writing, the league leaders are only separated by a mere six points. With the exception of Manchester City, we could very well see a new face hoisting the Premier League trophy at the end of the season.
For much of the year, it looked like Arsenal would be in the running for its first league title in more than a decade. With the Gunners’ recent victory against Leicester City, they are very much back in the conversation. Danny Welbeck returned to the pitch for the first time this season and made an immediate impact for Arsene Wenger’s squad, scoring the last-minute, game-winning goal to propel the team to within two points of the top spot. Given that even more key players are set to return to action for Arsenal in the coming months, this is easily the best shot they have had of winning a championship since their undefeated 2003-04 season.
Another surprise team that certainly deserves its own mention is Tottenham Hotspur. Following the club’s controversial defeat of Manchester City, the Spurs sit in second place, a mere two points behind Leicester City and ahead of Arsenal on goal differential. Tottenham have yet to win a title in the Premier League era and they have not won an English championship since 1961. The team has done a superb job of backing up star striker Harry Kane with a glut of promising young players, and their goal tally only helps to reinforce the wisdom behind the strategy of manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Meanwhile, Manchester City is still hoping to snag its third title as something of a swan song for exiting manager Manuel Pellegrini. It was recently announced that the club had hired Pep Guardiola . from Bayern Munich to take charge of the team beginning with next season. Thus, Pellegrini has been forced to endure the rest of the campaign as a dead man walking. Despite the impending exit of Pellegrini, City are still in the race for the Premier League title in addition to both the F.A. Cup and Champions League. Theoretically, the club could pull off a treble, if it can manage a solid string of performances during the final half of the season.
At the beginning of the season, it was expected that the usual suspects would once again dominate the league. Many predicted the reigning champs at Chelsea to repeat their success. However, a shocking season has seen the team part ways with controversial manager Jose Mourinho and struggle to remain in the top half of the tables with hopes of a Champions League spot dashed long ago.
For the first time in years, there’s a chance to see a completely new team win the league. No matter which club you support, there’s no denying that this has made for one of the most thrilling contests in recent memory. In a league where money talks, small fish like Leicester City are surprising everyone, and we can only hope that this means a new era of parity for the Premier League.