2020/21 promises to be the best Premier League title race in years
The 2020/21 Premier League title race will not set a record … unless it’s for the lowest points total. But what it has the potential to be is the most exciting, the most entertaining, the most generally unpredictable and therefore the best that we have seen in many years.
The Premier League champions haven’t finished with less than 90 points since 2015/16 when Leicester did the unthinkable and finished at the top of the list. There have only been three times in a 38-game Premier League season where the champions have missed by 80 points.
A lower point tally may indicate less objective quality from the champions, but it does highlight a more competitive league and a tighter finish as no team or pair of clubs can go too far.
All three under-80 seasons unfolded in consecutive years in the late 1990s and provided some of the best title races in living memory.
Manchester City reached incredible new heights in 2017/18 with a century of points, but there was no proper title race after October and there was no intrigue or competitiveness. It was the same when Liverpool ran away with him last season. In 2018/19 they ran each other on the wire, but both had to win every week and that’s exactly what happened.
What makes a title race more exciting is fall points, from everyone involved, at all times. It’ll keep more clubs involved, and it’s one of those things where more is always better.
1996/97 saw Manchester United win the title with 75 points, the fewest ever to be crowned Premier League champions. With less than a month into the season, three points separated United, Arsenal and Liverpool, while the top three weren’t far enough for a late charge to also firmly put Newcastle in contention – the Magpies ultimately finished second .
The 1997/98 race was devoted to Manchester United and Arsenal and the great pursuit of the latter.
The same two clubs also dominated the narrative in 1998/99, but people tend to forget how close Chelsea were and that it was a true three-horse race. Several years before the arrival of Roman Abramovich’s millions, Chelsea were only four points behind at the end and ultimately their title challenge was only derailed by three consecutive draws in mid-April.
This season, the inconsistent form of top clubs and the current points-per-game average at this point in the campaign would put the final title tally at 76.
From that moment, four points separate the top five clubs. That doesn’t include Chelsea, who have the quality and potential to stage a race. That doesn’t include Aston Villa, either, who have the league’s second best defensive record and have 26 points with a game in hand. Manchester City are eighth, have two games in hand and are seven points off the top.
Consistency, as was the case when Leicester upended the apple basket five years ago, will be key. Back then, the foxes got into position and held on when others couldn’t.
The consistency with which Liverpool secured their victories last season gave them up and they were unable to retire due to five of their last nine league games before facing Southampton in a potentially difficult game in the Monday night outside. In this race, it was not necessarily the best teams who took points from them, with draws against three of the current last four.
Manchester United may have gotten to where they were and in contention, as a consistent run of results – 26 points out of the last 30 on offer – replaced a poor start.
Everton returned to contention because they won four in a row in December, having won just one of the previous seven before that streak began. A win in their last game sacked Tottenham, which collapsed in December after strong October and November, suddenly back into the top three.
As it stands, all clubs from sixth to tenth have the same number of points. If one of these puts together some kind of race, it will quickly climb up the table.
What Leicester has shown in the recent past that it is possible to profit if the top clubs are in a lull season, does not actively rule out anyone who still comes close at this stage, whether it be Aston Villa, Southampton or Leicester. again.
The excitement will be watching it unfold and all the twists and turns that remain to be seen in the best, tightest and most competitive title race in years.
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