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Mid-season review: Title contenders...part I

Monday 2nd January 2017
We are halfway through what has been a thoroughly entertaining season for football fans all around the globe. At the start of the 2016/2017 season, 6 teams were believed to be capable of winning the Premier League title. Let's take a look at how each fared during the first-half of the season.

1 - Chelsea



I strongly doubt if even the most optimistic of Chelsea fans ever envisioned their side will be at the summit of the table at this stage of the season.

The transformation the Blues have undergone under the stewardship of Antonio Conte has been nothing short of remarkable.

The boys from Stamford Bridge are playing with a lot more swagger and are brushing teams aside with considerable ease.
Chelsea boasts the country's meanest defense; a defence that have let in just 13 goals. The attack have also been equally impressive; notching up 42 goals.

Going into the New Year, the Blues are firm favourite to win the Premier League. And history suggests the same also: every year Chelsea were top at Christmas, they went on to win the league title.

The West Londoners are with the added advantage of not playing in Europe and consequently have more time for recovery than others around them.

I'm sure fellow title challengers will be on their knees praying the Blues slip up at some point. But at the moment, Chelsea look unbeatable.

Chelsea will be looking to set a new Premier League record of 14 successive victories when they play away to Totthenam Hotspur on Wednesday.

2 - Liverpool



Arguably the most entertaining side to watch in the Premier League. The football played by the Reds has been breathtaking at times; pressing high up the pitch, switching the ball from defence to attack with lightning speed and they are extremely difficult to contain; in fact, they have failed to find the back of the net in just 3 games.

Liverpool have scored more goals than any other team in the League thus far (46). The only concern for Liverpool is their defence and it's probably the reason why they aren't top of the Premier League. In fact the Reds had kept only 3 clean sheets before December.

Nonetheless, they are in very good form and went into today's clash against Sunderland on the back of 4 successive wins in the Premier League.

Liverpool will be without top scorer Sadio Mane for a few weeks because he will represent Senegal at the African Cup Of Nations showpiece that kicks off on the 14th of January.
But they can at least be comforted with the expected return of Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho when he returns to action.

3 - Arsenal



It has been that kind of season for the Gunners: performing really well and looking unstoppable from the first few weeks into the new season up until the final weeks of the calendar year where they watched their chances fade away before their very eyes. Although they have improved of late.

Arsenal were in such good form the usually reserved Arsene Wenger talked up his charges chance of winning the League for the first time since 2004. The Frenchman, while speaking at the club's annual general meeting back in October, told reporters his team have "a good chance" of winning the Premier League. These were his words:

"Today we are in a much more competitive team in a very competitive League"

"I believe the team has the commitment, togetherness, hunger, desire and unity and we have a good chance to compete for the Premier League. "

Notwithstanding, Arsenal had a decent end to the year picking up 15 points from a possible 21.

I believe The Gunner have quality all around the pitch to win the League and if they are not able to mount sustained pressure on those above them on the log, it would be more down to their mindset than any other thing.

Click here to read part 2

 

 
Adoyi Joshua Adoyi

Adoyi is a Nigerian with a keen passion for sports  - more so football and is an avid supporter of Manchester United. He spends his weekends glued to his TV screen, watching the beautiful game.


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