As the Premier League progresses, title chances are becoming more and more evident. Defenders of the title, Liverpool, entered the campaign with high hopes of bagging yet another Premier League title. However, it seems Manchester City are determined to retain their top position and make it three crowns in the last four campaigns. Manchester United are in steady pursuit of Manchester City with 46 points — ten points behind the Blues and tied with Leicester City.
Unfortunately, we do not see Liverpool in the top four after underwhelming performances and the absence of key players such as Virgil van Dijk. With the Reds out of the title race, who are our top contenders for this year’s Premier League season? After iconic Premier League twists and turns, we have selected our top three.
1. Manchester City
Guardiola’s side has been breaking records and setting new marks, and they have officially won every top-flight match played in 2021. After their recent success against Everton, the Blues have reached ten continuous wins, which no other Premier League team has managed to do. Many have applauded their large pool of talent, skill and ability, and with a team so close to perfection, we can expect such performances. An example of the extensive talent at Manchester City is Sergio Aguero. Although Aguero has been absent for most of the campaign due to injuries, he is still the best centre forward City have, and he also appears in Sportingbet’s list of Europe’s deadliest strikers with 102 goals in the last five seasons.
Although a little inconsistency can be seen due to Aguero’s absence, Guardiola’s side has an abundance of world-class players such as Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden who awarded City their 17th straight win over Everton recently. The Blues winning the league now seems inevitable, and the pressure is also on.
The Man City boss spoke to BBC sport post-match and confessed it is hard for City to maintain the expectations and the race to the title with a growing target on their back.
“When you win a lot of games, everyone wants to beat you, and it is tricky. I have not seen that the team is thinking of the table. We have spoken about that. We are not here to defend our lead. It is all about three points, three points.”
“There are 42 points still to fight for, we are in the middle of February. Now we rest for a few days, there are so many games.”
2. Manchester United
Although Manchester United have dropped to third favourites to win the league after their 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, they have still surpassed all expectations this season. Last season ended in tatters for the Red Devils, and now they lie in the second position in the table with 46 points. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ranks seem to flourish in adversity, and with talents such as Paul Pogba, they are not to be underestimated.
Derby boss Wayne Rooney also backs Manchester United to win some silverware this season. The Manchester United icon mentions how signing players like Fernandes and Cavani – players with winning mentalities – have helped change the dynamic of the team. They have also complimented Paul Pogba’s style of play and allowed him to finally thrive and find his footing in the team.
3. Leicester City
The outsiders to win the Premier League are Leicester City, who have surpassed all expectations. The Foxes lie in third place in the Premier League table — three places above Liverpool, who they beat 3-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. Their 2-0 win over Chelsea displayed the levels of determination and ability that the team has to win the title. Brendon Roger’s squad is showing more and more similarities to their incredible 2015-16 title campaign. Will they be able to repeat history this season?
Although Manchester City are the top favourites to win, the current season is even more unpredictable due to the COVID-19 situation and the congested match schedule. This could possibly work in Leicester City’s favour, and there’s every chance that the Foxes could win again. With players such as Jamie Vardy, who scored 24 goals to help Leicester win the title in 2016, the Foxes have a real shot at the title. Vardy already has 11 goals to his name this season and remains an integral part of Leicester’s success so far. However, one significant factor is that the team is not reliant or dependent on him, and the Foxes have other methods of finding their way into the net. Harvey Barnes and James Maddison have also aided their team heavily with six goals each so far. This Premier League season proved it isn’t about one man anymore, and the entirety of the team matters.