Premier League Title Watch: Liverpool inches closer
With the 3-2 victory over Norwich City combined with Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland, Liverpool are now five points clear of their closest rival with three matches to play, meaning its their title to lose.
But in a season where crazy results are upended by even crazier results, don’t be surprised if there a few more waves before smooth sailing. Schedule, form, other competitions and injuries will all play a role but with just three matchweeks to play this is how things look at the top.
1. LIVERPOOL 80 PTS (35 PLD)
Remaining Matches (3): Chelsea (H); Crystal Palace (A); Newcastle United (H)
League Form: WWWWWW
Other Competitions: None
Injuries (return date): Daniel Sturridge, hamstring (April 27th); Jose Enrique, knee (out for season)
Vegas odds to win: 1/6
Verdict: As it stands now, Liverpool need five points from their final three matches to secure the title over Chelsea and seven points from their final three fixtures to clinch over City, assuming the Citizens win out. Next weekend’s contest against the Blues will prove a massive step towards making that happen for Liverpool. Beating Chelsea and a taking four or more points from Palace and Newcastle will give the Reds their first Premier League title. Draw with the Blues and Liverpool will need to beat both Palace and Newcastle to clinch, assuming City win out. Lose to Mourinho’s men and Liverpool will need to beat both Palace and Newcastle for a chance clinch, assuming City win out. That scenario would put both Liverpool and City on 86 points meaning goal differential (currently Liverpool +52 and City +54) would decide the champion.
2. CHELSEA 75 PTS (35 PLD)
Remaining Matches (3): Liverpool (A); Norwich City (H); Cardiff City (A)
League Form: LWLWWL
Other Competitions: Champions League (v. Atletico Madrid on April 22nd)
Injuries (return date): Petr Cech, illness (April 22nd); Eden Hazard, calf (April 22nd)
Vegas odds to win: 25/1
Verdict: This past weekend’s loss to Sunderland was a killer and the Vegas odds say it all -- barring an epic collapse by Liverpool, Chelsea’s title hopes are limited to the Champions League. Bottom line for Chelsea to win the Premier League they’ll need to beat Liverpool this weekend, win their final two matches and hope that Liverpool lose one of their final two matches and City lose one of their final five contests.
3. MANCHESTER CITY 71 PTS (33 PLD)
Remaining Matches (5): West Bromwich Albion (H); Crystal Palace (A); Everton (A); Aston Villa (H); West Ham United (H)
League Form: WWDWLD
Other Competitions: None
Injuries (return date): Jesus Navas, ankle (no return date); David Silva, ankle (April 21st); Yaya Toure, groin (April 27th); Matija Nastasic, knee (no return date)
Vegas odds to win: 7/2
Verdict: Last week’s 2-3 loss to Liverpool hurt their title chances but following it up with a 2-2 draw against Sunderland all but put the knife to City’s throat. Win out and hope Liverpool drops at least three points from their final three matches to have a chance at winning the title by goal differential.