[Liverpool’s] is an unusual title challenge, but it is a title challenge nonetheless. Liverpool have momentum and match-winners, confidence and the invaluable asset of being the underdog when the burden of being favourites lies on the shoulders of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Nowhere does he go on to mention the second-place team, the team that has until recently held onto first place for two-thirds of the season (18 of 27 weeks, plus five other weeks in second place). To an extent, I get it. On one hand, Man City and Chelsea have each won a Prem championship recently—Chelsea in 2010 and City in 2012—and finished second the year following, while we cling to a 2004 championship almost like a toddler to his comforter. On the other hand, we have Man City (again) and Liverpool scoring goals as if it’s a pub league. Lost somewhere in the shuffle is boring, old Arsenal.
Despite having roundly thumped Sunderland, the story of the week focuses on how Chelsea (a dodgy Ramires dive from drawing with Everton), Man City (scorers of one goal in three matches), and Liverpool (who are conceding almost as fast as they’re scoring) are vying for the championship. What gives? After all, of the four of us, who’s been most wasteful in the new year? We’ve drawn at home with Man U, drawn away to Southampton, and lost away to Liverpool, it’s true, but contrast that against our rivals (opponents’ table position at time of match)
- Chelsea: away-draw with West Brom (18th), home-draw with West Ham (18th).
- Man City: away-draw with Norwich (15th), home-loss to Chelsea (1st)
- Liverpool: away draw with West Brom (15th), home-draw with Aston Villa (11th), away-loss to Chelsea (3rd).
Let Man City and Liverpool try to outscore everyone in sloppy orgies of goals. Where will they be when the goals dry up? The losses and draws will come, mark my words. Let Chelsea try to stupefy opponents with boring, boring footballing. To them too will losses and draws will. Let the media write us off and talk us down. It’ll be all the more satisfying when we emerge, end of the season, top of the table.