It has almost been a forgone conclusion that Chelsea will win the Premier League this season but Manchester City are still very much in the title race. The gap was closed to five points last weekend as Chelsea dropped points at home to Burnley and Manchester City thrashed Newcastle in style to close the gap at the top of the table.
Although the gap is only five points, can Manchester City do it? Chelsea fans must be worried at the prospect of City mounting a late charge for the title. They showed last season that they were good enough to really gather momentum when the season was entering its final stages, picking up important wins to pip both Chelsea and Liverpool to the title. City have struggled in recent weeks due to the absence of key man Yaya Toure, who was busy leading the Ivory Coast to an African Cup of Nations triumph in January. Now that the big Ivorian has returned, the Citizens look like they have got their mojo back.
Pellegrini will be anxious to keep the likes of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and David Silva fit from now until the end of the season. If these players feature consistently for the club then Manchester City have a great chance of catching Chelsea at the top of the table. The addition of Wilfried Bony is also a major plus for the club. His added firepower and experience in the Premier League will be a valuable option for City and a potential partnership with Sergio Aguero could be lethal.
City’s title bid could depend on what happens in the Champions League. If the club go out to Barcelona, something that looks probable at this stage, it could be a blessing in disguise for Pellegrini’s men. A lack of any further distraction for City will allow them to focus purely on the Premier League title. However, if they manage to beat Barcelona, the Champions League will take priority and it will be a tough ask for City to maintain a push for both the Premier League title and the Champions League at the same time, especially considering the quality Chelsea have as title rivals.
In terms of Mourinho’s side, he will be expecting his team to win the league. The Blues have performed brilliantly this season, with star players really performing well across the entire pitch. Cesc Fabregas has been a revelation, combining well with Diego Costa. Eden Hazard has been his usual lethal self and Nemanja Matic has added the steel to Chelsea’s title challenge. They have been the most consistent team this season and are notoriously hard to beat. Unlike City, Mourinho will feel that winning the league and getting to the Champions League final is a realistic aim for the club. They have real experience in the Champions League and Mourinho will effectively balance his squad in order to perform well both domestically and in Europe.
City have shown in the past that they are more than capable of putting a run together that will lead to them to the title. However, Chelsea came close to winning the league last year and Mourinho’s side is a stronger outfit this time around. They show little signs of slipping up and have performed like champions throughout the season so far. There is always the potential for further slip-ups but Mourinho’s experience means that Chelsea should be lifting the Premier league trophy in May. City will hold a real threat for the rest of the campaign but it will be very difficult to force Chelsea to surrender their league position at this stage of the season.