So we are eight games in to the new Premier League season so far and already seemingly the entire country has chosen either champions Manchester United or their noisy neighbours Manchester City as their pick as title winners this season.
Currently it’s the blue side of Manchester that top the table with 22 points out of a possible 24 alongside a positive goal difference of 21.
The red side of the city find themselves two points behind their rivals but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have already faced some stiff opposition this term and are looking impressive as they boast new signings and some youngsters who have been handed a chance and look to be taking it well.
However, it’s not all about Manchester this year.
Just a single point behind United you have Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea side who for the first time in years have been keeping their work relatively quiet down at Stamford Bridge, staying out of the press and doing their talking on the pitch.
In my opinion, Chelsea are in arguably the greatest position they could be in if they hope to regain what they believe is their Premier League title this season.
Whilst the antics of Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney have given City and United respectively a lot of negative publicity and taken the focus off their matchday games, Chelsea find themselves in a rare position of not being under the spotlight of the footballing public and this is something that will favour them for potentially the season, certainly for the moment.
Saturday saw Sir Alex’s men earning a point in a heated clash with Liverpool at lunchtime and City’s Mario Balotelli demanding more attention, this time from the Aston Villa fans, as Roberto Mancini’s side swept aside the midlands outfit in a 3pm kickoff to put them at the head of the table.
The two games had seemingly sucked all the attention and energy out of the average football fan as they reacted and engaged in the latest chapter of the Manchester battle for glory. Little did those fans know that Chelsea faced a stern test in the evening game at home to an Everton side that boasted a darn good record against the Londoners.
With the pressure seemingly off, the Blues earned a respectable 3-1 victory and whilst they didn’t play particularly spectacular, they got the job done and won the game.
Isn’t that what they say is the sign of champions?
I really think Chelsea have been underestimated this year purely because it’s the Manchester clubs that have stolen the spotlight for themselves but that could come back to bite them.
Whilst every team also has this issue, Chelsea have a number of players that are uncertain of a place in their respective country’s squad for Euro 2012 this summer. Many teams players are those fringe players but the likes of Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge just to name a few also have no clue as to if they’ll make the trip to Ukraine and Poland and are big players for the Blues who will be eager to take their chances to get their spot on the plane.
So what about their results so far this season?
Well they we beaten 3-1 at Old Trafford in a game famous for that Torres miss but despite the defeat, Chelsea showed enough on that day to warrant a victory and certainly showed that they will compete at the top this year.
Other than that, the Stamford Bridge side has blown away all before the including a 5-1 spanking of Bolton at the Reebok a few weeks back.
So the Blues are in a good position at the moment and if they are still competing at the end of the season, their run in will certainly test whether they are worthy or not of being champions this year.
They face teams in April and May that will all having something to battle for whether it be the title, a European spot or Premier League survival and definitely a squad talented enough to get by.
So forget about what’s going on up in Manchester, Chelsea might just be worth a cheeky bet for the title this season. Just remember, it’s not a two-horse race just yet.
By Matt Cotton
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