“The title race in the Premier League is always wide open!” That statement is usually one of the biggest arguments Premier League fans use to show why the Premier League is superior to Europe’s other top leagues.
After all, Bayern Munich has run away with the Bundesliga the last five seasons. La Liga is always a test between Barcelona, Real Madrid, and, recently, Atletico Madrid. But the Premier League has seen four different winners in the past four years.
And while the title race hasn’t gone down to the final day of the season since 2012, it has still gone until very late in the season, often with more than two teams fighting for it. That is until this year, when Chelsea have managed to all but wrap the title up in February (and if we’re really being honest, they had it won at Christmas).
Except it’s not. Once you look past the title race, you see that the rest of the Premier League is tighter than it’s ever been.
This season we are being treated to one of the tightest battles not only for the top four, but relegation battles as well.
In previous seasons, you knew what the top four would be before the season even started. Recently, the race for the top four has also wrapped up early, leaving the final days of the season a bit dull.
That’s not the case this year where there are five teams separated by five points competing for the final three spots (with Everton not far behind). Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United are all duking it out, and with European play set to start back up next week, anything can happen.
What’s making this race so exciting is that neither of these teams have done anything to set themselves apart from the rest. Liverpool looked phenomenal as they rounded out December by putting on a magnificent performance against Manchester City, but they’ve yet to win a game in 2017. On the other side, Manchester City had been slipping and sliding down the table but are now on fire thanks to Gabriel Jesus.
In other words, no team has been consistent enough to pull away from the others and cement a place in the top four and I don’t see that changing in the next few months, which will provide the fans with a great race right down to the end of it.
If a thrilling top four race wasn’t enough to get you excited, the action at the bottom is as good as it’s ever been.
Six, six! teams are all within two points of each other in the fight to avoid relegation and that includes the champions Leicester City. At the start of the season, everyone expected Leicester to suffer a dip in form, but not like this. Newcomers Middlesbrough also got off to a good start, but have slowly seen themselves fall down the table.
Despite the poor results for Leicester and Middlesbrough, most people assumed they would be safe simply because Sunderland, Hull, Swansea, and Crystal Palace were all dumpster fire disasters.
But a funny thing has happened recently. Hull City actually some life in them since the appointment of new manager Marco Silva while Swansea have also shown some signs of life.
Crystal Palace hasn’t seemed to take to the styles of new manager Sam Allardyce yet and last week the entire race got flipped upside down when left-for-dead Sunderland picked up a 4-0 win over Palace in a huge ‘relegation six-pointer.’
Just like at the top, the relegation race is as wide as ever. No team has been good enough to put any string of results together, but on the other side, every time one team looks dead in the water they pull off a shocking result to keep themselves in it.
Chelsea may have wrapped up the league already, and Premier League fans won’t be able to watch a title race down final stretch of the season. But we will get to watch two races, and they won’t be just two teams fighting for one spot. It’s multiple teams fighting for not-as-many spots, and that should provide all the drama Premier League fans are used to in the final weeks.