At the halfway stage of the current Premier League season, it could be argued that both Leicester and Chelsea are occupying positions in the league table normally reserved for the each other in an unpredictable campaign to date. Arsenal are current leaders despite losing 2-0 at home to West Ham in their opening game of the season, whereas second placed Leicester have lost only twice after adopting an attacking policy which has allowed Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to score 15 and 13 league goals respectively. But which teams are more likely to secure the League title in May?
Reigning champions Chelsea are 19 points adrift of Arsenal and Leicester and have won just one league game on the road this term. Four home defeats at Stamford Bridge have added to their problems and Champions League qualification is still a remote possibility for the Blues.
Arsenal have needed to contend with a series of injuries to key players yet they beat Manchester City at the Emirates prior to Christmas, but then unexpectedly lost 4-0 at Southampton on Boxing Day. That defeat may have addressed any complacency in the squad and with several players set for a return to first team action during the early weeks of the New Year, the Gunners should not be dismissed as potential champions.
Manchester City are likely to the main challengers but some uncharacteristically poor recent away form has prevented City from securing the halfway lead in the Premier League. There was substantial investment in the City squad during the summer especially in attack, but prolonged injury absences for Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany have affected the progress of the 2013-14 champions.
Neighbours Manchester United have been affected by recent rumours regarding the future of manager Louis van Gaal and much work may still be needed to allow the summer influx of new signings to be organised into effective functional team although injuries have not helped recent progress. There is also the problem of Wayne Rooney seemingly losing his sharpness in front of goal and the pace to escape his markers.
Meanwhile Tottenham remain decent outside bets to win the Premier League should the lengthy Europa League not prove to be a distraction. Having lost just two league games this season, manager Mauricio Pochettino has assembled a young team with a consistent goalscorer in Harry Kane and Dele Alli just one of several developing midfield players. Pressure does not appear to affect the Spurs team but that could change in the latter months of the season when vital points are at stake.
Finally, there is the case of Leicester. Claudio Ranieri appears to be enjoying his role supervising a team classed as underdogs and his small squad of players are defying the experts who predicted eventual relegation at the end of the campaign. The Foxes have yet to experience any significant injuries and are unable to employ any squad rotation, but should they secure at least fourth position in May and qualify for the Champions League, that would constitute a real achievement and prove to other teams that such ambitions are not impossible.
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