Thursday 18 January 2018

A title race in name but not in deed

Eamonn Sweeney

Whether it's Chelsea or Manchester United who win the Premier League, you will be told that this season's victory is "in many ways their greatest achievement." That's the convention.

In reality, this season's title race has been the equivalent of a slow bicycle race and has been almost completely devalued by the erratic form of the main contenders.

Look at the last two results of the three sides who were in contention. Chelsea scrape to a very fortunate win over Bolton before being beaten by a Spurs side who would not have been flattered by a four-goal margin of victory. United are held scoreless by Blackburn before winning the most boring Manchester derby in living memory in the last second. And Arsenal exit stage right after losing to Spurs and Wigan. From six games, the big three took a total of seven points. That's what you'd expect from clubs at the other end of the table.

There was much adverse comment last week about the standard of play in the Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Lyon. There seemed to be an implication that we might have witnessed better stuff had an English club been involved.

The sad truth is that while Bayern and Lyon may not be great, they are a lot better than anything the Premier League has to offer this season. Seriously, if Chelsea or United had to beat Everton to win the title and David Moyes' team had something to play for, who would your money be on? Mine too.

Sunday Independent

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