Arriving at the half way point in the 2015/16 season, speculation begins as to who clubs will look to buy or sell in the January transfer window, and which club will take the title. With Chelsea, the Premier League Champions, 15 points adrift and sat in 16th place it looks almost impossible they can achieve a top 4 finish, let alone defend their title. Attention therefore must be focussed toward the top of the table, and the race is currently tight. Manchester City and Arsenal are tied on 26 points, with Leicester remarkably only 1 point behind. Manchester United sit in 4th place on 24 points holding a 3 point gap over chasers Tottenham. Liverpool are 9 points from the leaders in 10th place, with Jurgen Klopp yet to make too much an impact on the side.
Mourinho and Vardy swap places
With Chelsea losing game after game, each week setting unwanted records of their latest failures, Roman Abramovic still holds faith in Jose Mourinho to turn their fortunes around. We often attack the owners of clubs for sacking managers for falling far behind objectives set for them but will his time come if Chelsea fall two places lower into the relegation zone?
The top of the table is still an open race, being lead by Arsenal and Manchester Citywho are tied on points and their competitors not far behind. This years’ underdog is Leicester Football Club who sit comfortably in third place. Every week people expect the bubble to burst for Leicester but with Jamie Vardy in explosive form, along with Riyad Mahrez, they could look to shock the world with a high finish.
West Ham looked to compete with Leicester for a place in the top 4 yet falling to 6th and with a 3 month layoff ahead for midfielder Dimitri Payet, although they are only 5 points from the leaders we could see the end of an impressive start to the season for the Hammers.
Leading The Race
Until they meet Manchester City on the 21st of December, Arsenal are not particularly tested in their fixtures, lining up against teams such as Sunderland, Norwich and Aston Villa. Manchester City however, will have to face Liverpool, Southampton and Stoke, among others, which could potentially give them opportunities to slip up. Wenger has guided Arsenal to four wins and a draw in Arsenal’s past 5 games, with Pellegrini managing three wins and two draws. However, since the 8th October, Manchester City have been unable to call upon star striker Sergio Aguero who suffered an injury whilst on international duty. Yet Aguero is set to return before this encounter, along with Arsenal trio, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey. This decisive battle will definitely be an important match where both managers will want 3 points.
The January transfer window provides teams with the opportunity to strengthen at the halfway point in the season and this season could prove crucial to the title race. From the 1st of January 2016, the race will begin to narrow until its final conclusion in May, and the buying and selling within this month may help to shape this. It is clear that Louis Van Gaal may consider a move for a striker after watching his side struggle for goals this season, and new Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may choose to move for some of his former players from Borussia Dortmund. One certainty is that Jose Mourinho will have to consider who he will attempt to sign, unless his players miraculously discover some form and save their Chelsea careers. It will certainly be interesting to see if Arsene Wenger moves for the striker he was criticised for not signing in the summer, or keep faith in Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, and if Manuel Pellegrini will feel the need to strengthen his side or not.
One possible solution to the attacking problems suffered by both Jurgen Klopp and Louis Van Gaal could come in the form of Alexander Pato, who’s managed 10 goals and 5 assists in 31 games for Sao Paulo this season. Currently on loan at Sao Paulo from Corinthians, both based in Brazil, it is likely that Pato will want to move to a more popular league, not only for more prestigious trophies but to also reignite his career with the Brazilian national team.
Who will lift the trophy?
As the weeks go by, it is looking increasingly certain that the trophy will be lifted by either Arsenal or Manchester City this season. Manchester City will look forward to Sergio Aguero returning to their side who they hope will pick up where he left off, and Arsenal will hope Walcott can continue his fine run of form pre-injury. Although, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil have stepped up for Arsenal in recent games, with Giroud holding 9 goals in 17 games in all competitions, scoring 3 in October for their Premier League campaign and 3 for France in their 2 most recent games. Ozil has been equally as explosive, with 10 assists and 1 goal in 11 games for Arsenal this season.
This is not to exclude Manchester United however, who have managed 24 points this season, despite striker Wayne Rooney finding goals hard to come by, and new signing Memphis Depay failing to make too much of an impact. Depay boasts only 1 goal and 0 assists in 8 games for United this season with Rooney holding only 2 goals and no assists to his name. United’s goals have come across the team so far, being shared between Juan Mata with 4, Anthony Martial at 3, Ander Herrera with Wayne Rooney at 2 goals and Memphis Depay being joined by Daley Blind, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jesse Lingard on 1.
In my opinion, it looks at the moment as the trophy could once again return to Manchester with Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Even though Arsenal and Manchester City are both tied on points, I feel that if City can keep Aguero fit, they will be able to break away from Arsenal. Regardless of all this uncertainty and speculation, it is certain the remainder of this season will be throughly entertaining and the Premier League trophy will not remain at Stamford Bridge this season.