Pep Guardiola has backed five teams to challenge for the title this season. The focus of everyone has been on Liverpool and Manchester City but is the race bigger than that?
“There are 39 points to play and it is not too much if you are nine or 10 behind,” said Guardiola, as per the BBC. “I never said Tottenham are not there.
“[Manchester] United making this run every single week and they will be there.
“Now we see the table and see the first two or three and we don’t look further than that. Chelsea can win games in a row and be a contender.”
Guardiola has suprised many with his assertion that five teams are in the title race. It’s certainly not a common view but is he right? Let’s have a look at the contenders he names.
Undoubtedly contenders, even with the poor start to 2019. The Reds are top and have the best defense in the league, only conceding more than a single goal on two occasions.
On top of that, their record against sides outside the top six is almost perfect. The draws to Leicester City and West Ham United in the last two games are the first points dropped to such teams.
They’re well equipped to fight until the end.
Title favourites at the start and arguably favourites right now. City have a coach who has won the title in three different countries, managing by far the most expensive squad in the country.
Unlike everyone else, literally every member of their squad has won the Premier League at least once. That could prove key.
Spurs have had a strange season, being written in and out of the title race almost week to week. Yet to draw a game, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have shown real resilience this year – enough to remain just two points behind City.
They’ve also just steered through a difficult period without key players. If this was their blip, it wasn’t a fatal one.
They’re outsiders but they have a real chance.
The Blues looked likely to keep pace with Liverpool and City at first but fell away sharply. They’re now 12 points off the top and looking disjointed.
The signing of Gonzalo Higuain may help fix things but they don’t look to be in any kind of shape to overhaul the points difference.
Guardiola surprised by naming five teams in the title race and United are the biggest reason for that.
They are only two points behind Chelsea now but their inclusion is based around eight games played under little pressure.
Can United keep it up and overhaul a 14 point difference? It would be the most remarkable title victory in history. Liverpool and City fans shouldn’t be too worried that their rivals could usurp them.
Is Guardiola right about a five-team title race?
In all honesty, probably not. Chelsea and United are so far back and not really in shape to compete.
Still, he is right about it being more than just Liverpool and City in this race. Spurs are right behind and showing the grit to fight.
We’re in for a very interesting title race.