We’ve been steadfast in our denial of a “title race” in the English Premier League for weeks. And we’re not wavering from that. We’re just not. We’ll see what happens over the next week and a half, but now is not the time for rash conclusions. Why? Well, two things:
- Remember how Tottenham finished last season?
- Chelsea have been here before. And recently.
Look, obviously it’s not that simple. Obviously, this Tottenham team is very much improved from last season. They’ve dealt with numerous injuries to key players splendidly. They’ve become more disciplined as a unit. And, they are not letting up. Tottenham are quite literally doing all they can. Of course, that’s all they can do. But here’s the question: how much longer can they keep this up?
Both Tottenham and Chelsea have six fixtures remaining, with the former hosting only two and the latter hosting four. Yes Spurs are unbeaten at home this season, but one of those two remaining home fixtures feature Manchester United. And José Mourinho’s squad have lost only once since January 29 (FA Cup match against Chelsea on March 13). Their other fixture falls against Arsenal, who, despite their tremendous shortcomings this season, will definitely be up for the North London Derby.
Tottenham get Crystal Palace away, who are rolling. They get West Ham away, who will almost never roll over against Spurs. Then there’s Leicester away, who have seemingly been reborn under the leadership of Craig Shakespeare. Lastly, on the final day of the Premier League season, Tottenham take on Hull City. Or, a club who quite possibly could be fighting for their top-flight lives that day. Remember what happened at Newcastle last season? And they were already relegated.
Meanwhile, Chelsea host not one, but two relegation-bound opponents—Middlesbrough and Sunderland. Maybe a draw awaits them at Stamford Bridge against Southampton, but what about Watford? It’ll either be a scoreless draw or the visitors will ship four goals. Their away fixtures include Everton—we don’t know which version will show up—and West Brom (see: Everton).
Put shorter, Tottenham have a more taxing run-in than Chelsea. Put another way, the Blues aren’t feeling the pressure. Not yet. No matter what Antonio Conte says over the next couple weeks.
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop any of you from talking about a title race. I’m not going to stop Tottenham supporters from getting their hopes up. Or maybe not even getting their hopes up, but simply getting excited. It’s good that the end of the Premier League season might end up meaning something. It’s good that the top of the table is actually getting closer. What’s it going to mean in two weeks? We’ll check in with Tottenham and Chelsea then.
So, what else did we learn over the weekend?
- Sunderland could’ve used Sam Allardyce this season.
- “Frauds” don’t score 20-plus goals in three consecutive EPL seasons. Sorry, folks.
- Marcos Rojo is quite possibly the dirtiest player in the league. (And he gets away with it).
- Have you ever officiated a match before? If not, you could’ve taken the first half of the United/Chelsea match.
- Liverpool recorded a clean sheet, so the world can end now.
Do you think the title race is back on in England?