Ed Chamberlin: Tough at the top

Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin looks at the ever-changing picture at the top of the Premier League in his latest column.

Last Updated: 01/02/14 at 15:06 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Premier League. Click here to bet.

Man City hammered Spurs for a second time this season

Man City hammered Spurs for a second time this season

The Premier League lead has changed hands 17 times this season, including eight times in the last six weeks.

The top spot has already changed more times than the previous two seasons put together.

It's likely to change again on Super Sunday but you sense this week that Manchester City are starting to turn the screw and the musical chairs at the top of the League could be about to stop. Sky Bet shortened City to 8/11 from evens to win the title after another dominant performance against Spurs.

Manuel Pellegrini has his team is irresistible form. The pace of their attacking play on Wednesday night was mesmerising at times. David Silva seems back to his brilliant best and back pulling the strings behind their prolific collection of strikers.

Right now City seem relentless and remorseless, as Spurs and West Ham have recently found out. Next up: Jose and Chelsea on Monday Night Football.

City can equal a club record set in 1912 with a run of nine successive League wins and set a new club record run of 21 games unbeaten in all competitions.

'Do not lose to your rivals'. That seems to be Jose Mourinho's mantra. He's forced stalemates at Old Trafford and the Emirates this season and Chelsea are the only unbeaten team this season in meetings between current top four teams, but how does he stop the free flowing, goalscoring machine that is Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City?

Maybe he'll have to adopt some '19th century' tactics. City are rampant. Their staggering goals tally is up to 115 and they've won eight straight Premier League games, scoring 27 goals in the process.

At home they've won all 11 Premier League home games this season - the only 100% home record in all four English League divisions - and have won the last four Premier League meetings with Chelsea at the Etihad, scoring seven goals and conceding two. City are a 5/6 chance with Sky Bet to make that five in a row with Chelsea a 16/5 chance.

Goals are the biggest contrast between these two sides, particularly between their strikers with City's forwards contributing 32 Premier League goals compared to just 11 from Chelsea's front men. Add to Man City's armoury the top-scoring midfielder in the League this season, 12-goal Yaya Toure, and you have a red hot goalscoring unit.

Yet, despite all of these one-sided stats, only three points separate the two sides in the Premier League table and Chelsea are still only an 11/4 chance to win the league. They have the Premier League's best defence and are unbeaten in eight, taking 20 points from the last 24 available. You can put a line through the goalless draw against West Ham and put it down as a freak because Chelsea had 39 attempts on goal - the most by a team without scoring in a Premier League game since Opta began.

This a full-on heavyweight clash between the two favourites to win the Premier League title. I hope you can join Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville and myself at 7pm on Sky Sports 1 on Monday Night Football.

Before Monday night's game Arsenal have the chance to go back to the top for the seventh time this season at home to Crystal Palace on Super Sunday. Arsene Wenger's side have been top for 122 of the 169 days but again people are questioning whether cracks are starting to emerge.

I was at St Mary's on Tuesday night, where Arsenal were fortunate to come away with a point. However, a point is a decent result at St Mary's these days. This is a team that's been written off on so many occasions this season and has so far they have come up with all the answers.

However, injuries and suspensions mean Arsenal's resources are going to be stretched over the next few weeks with Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich looming large in the horizon. It will be fascinating to see if Arsene Wenger acts on Friday and pulls off another morale-boosting Deadline Day coup just as he did in September.

It won't be easy for the Gunners on Sunday. This is Crystal Palace's first ever visit to the Emirates - the last meeting at Arsenal was a 5-1 Arsenal win in February 2005 and Palace's only ever League win at Arsenal was 2-1 win at Highbury in October 1994 - and they arrive in buoyant mood. Palace's revival has been one of the stories of the season. Only a few weeks ago they looked set to be cut adrift at the bottom of the table and were long odds on for relegation. Now they are 14th and for the first time this season are not Sky Bet's favourites to be relegated. Fulham now have that unwelcome berth at 8/11, with Cardiff a 10/11 chance to go down and Palace odds against for the first time at 11/10. The bottom half of the table and battle to avoid relegation remains a minefield.

Crystal Palace's revival stems back to the game with Arsenal in October. The game came after the departure of Ian Holloway and Arsenal won it 2-0 but Palace were much improved and much harder to beat that day and it served as a platform to go on this extraordinary turnaround that has taken them out of the bottom three.

Palace have won their last two Premier League games and on Sunday bid to win three-in-a-row for the first time in the top flight since 1994. The good work was started under Keith Millen and has been carried on by Tony Pulis. Palace have 16 points from 11 games under Pulis, having taken only seven points from the opening 12. They've only conceded 10 goals in the last 11 after letting in 21 in the first 12 games. Arsenal are up against a very different Crystal Palace, who will be hard to break down.

The Gunners might go back to the top of the League on Sunday but if Manchester City go top on the Monday Night Football you wonder if that might the 19th and final time the lead swaps hands.


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Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

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