2020/21 PL Title Race: Who will succeed, and who will falter?
The PL is approaching gameweek 18, but unlike previous years, we do not have a clear idea of who is going to lift the trophy this year. Let’s see which teams have the potential of winning the title, and factors they have which could affect the race
Leicester City have been relatively good for the past 18 months, and were top of the league before we headed into the international break. Now, however, they have slipped down to fourth. This doesn’t mean they don’t have a say in the title race. Their squad is oozing of class, but one issue they will face is on how to rotate their squad without tampering with the team’s chemistry and footballing ability. Their Player to Watch has to be Harvey Barnes, who has been on a goal-scoring run of late.
Everton fans will be more than delighted with their performance in 2020/21 so far, and will hope that the Toffees don’t experience a drop in form to end the season without European football. The Toffees have vastly improved their squad, and were on a great run of results till the loss to West Ham on New Year’s Day. They will hope to bounce back strongly against Wolves, and will hope to finish in the top 6. Their Player to Watch has to be DCL, who has scored 14 goals in 15 games, the same amount he scored last season in 38 games! What an improvement!
On paper, Chelsea are the best team in the league for sure. On the pitch, however, they still don’t have the desired chemistry or drive to make them the best team in the League. Lampard may deny this, but he has no clue as to which formation and which players make up his best 11. It also doesn’t help that only their defensive signings have actually slotted into the Chelsea squad seamlessly. Hakim Ziyech is struggling with injuries, Timo Werner has lost his prolificacy, Havertz is still unable to adapt to the physicality, and all in all, unless Lampard makes his new signings to solve their issues and gets them to perform at a very high standard, the Blues are highly unlikely to win the league. One Player to Watch for the Blues is Tammy Abraham. The English frontman has been one of Lampard’s most consistent players aside from Kovacic and Mount, and will be the player the Londoners rely on for goals if Werner doesn’t adapt his style of play soon.
Tottenham Hotspur- 6/10
Tottenham may be experiencing a mini slump in form, but the way they played at the start of the season is the reason I feel they are more likely to win the PL. They didn’t shell out any big fees for any of their latest signings, and yet they have performed WAY better than Chelsea’s signings. Joe Rodon has defended well in the few starts he has recieved, Hojbjerg has been rock-solid in defensive mid, Carlos Vinicius has covered well for Kane, Lo Celso and Matt Doherty have performed when needed, Sergio Reguilon has been phenomenal for the Lilywhites, and Gareth Bale plus Joe Hart have done well in the Europa League, despite getting little playtime in the PL. Overall, Jose Mourinho’s men look likely to win a trophy this season, but the jury’s still out on whether they can still win the PL in particular. A Player to Watch for the Spurs is Tanguy Ndombele, who has been pretty amazing in the PL this season after he had a rough debut season last season. Spurs will rely on him to be their midfield general, and his performances will surely affect Tottenham’s results.
Man City- 7/10
The Sky Blues had a pretty bad start to the season, but now that they have somewhat steadied the ship, they will have to buck up and go on winning streaks if they wish to catch up with the likes of Liverpool and their local rival Manchester United. One advantage over their rivals will certainly be the two matches they are yet to play, and their squad depth in ALL areas, which both main rivals Liverpool and Manchester United lack. Their Covid-19 crisis is certainly not helping improve their situation, but if they take the crisis as a positive and come back rested and motivated to do well, we could very well see Pep Guardiola’s men lift the trophy come May. One issue, if you could call it that, is the Sky Blues’ lack of goalscorers, which could be solved in January if they decide to go for Polish Striker Milik, or another out-and-out striker. One to Watch for Pep’s side, is John Stones. The former Toffees’ defender has rediscovered his best form of late, and could be crucial to the Man City defence, given the hectic schedule.
Do I hope the Red Devils will win the PL? Of course, yes. Do I think they can genuinely beat the likes of Liverpool? Unfortunately, the answer to that at the current point of time is not really. The Mancunians currently sit joint-top of the table with Liverpool, which has happened for the first time since Sir Alex’s retirement, but will OGS be able to keep things this way? Manchester United have great squad depth up front and in midfield unlike some rivals, but unfortunately lack depth in some positions like the right-back and CDM position. Their consistency will also be tested, and they will have to be able to go on winning streaks like Liverpool do to even think of contesting the Scousers for the title. All in all, United have a huge chance of contesting for the PL, but they will require some luck, and consistency to actually win the PL. One to Watch from the Red Devils’ squad is Donny Van De Beek. VDB has not gotten as many starts, or as much game time as he would have liked, but with the departure of Paul Pogba looming, he could very well be Man United’s direct replacement for the Frenchman, who has been crucial to the Red Devils’ rise to the top of the table.
The Scousers have done pretty well this season, and yet they have not dominated the league like many believed they would. This is partly down to their injury crisis, but it’s mostly because of the fact that many teams have pulled their socks up, and are doing the best they possibly can to compete for the PL. While this may be exciting for fans, it certainly is worrying for Jurgen Klopp. His team remains favourites to win the league by May, but it will certainly be a tougher journey than the one they had last season. One crucial factor for the Scousers will be the transfer window. If they want to increase the likeliness of lifting the trophy, they will most certainly have to buy a world-class defender. The main reason Liverpool are dropping points is due to their makeshift defence, and they will need to buy a solid centre-back to ensure they stop dropping points every now and then. One to Watch from Liverpool has to be Curtis Jones. He has done well to cover for the likes of Henderson and Thiago in their absence, and could prove a vital part of Klopp’s squad rotation in the latter stages of the season.
So, that’s all for this article. I reluctantly admit Liverpool are favourites to win, but they have more than a couple of teams hot on their heels, eyeing that PL trophy too. Hope you liked this article, and do look out for my Matchday 17 article too! See Y’all soon!