A few weeks ago you could have got Manchester City at 1.80 to win the league title, now no one can touch them as their relentless drive takes hold. We of course knew all about what City's drive can look like because they have done it on so many occasions. Winning 14 games in a row or going the last 3 months unbeaten of a season, in this one it didn't look certain that they would be able to replicate their outstanding consistency of previous seasons, how wrong we were. City have spent less than 3 weeks at the top of the Premier League table and yet now look set to win it and it may not even end up being a close race. For the majority of the season Pep Guardiola's side seemed to have consistency problems, winning some games but starting them slowly, it was almost as if they needed the test to keep themselves motivated. But since March it was as if Guardiola had a secret switch and once he flicked it his team aligned like the brightest stars in space and started to play their game.
Recent victories have seen City smash Liverpool 4-1, they put seven goals past Southampton and Leicester, good in form teams like Aston Villa and Newcastle were swept aside and they also beat Arsenal 4-1. Their nearest challengers have seen 7 goals scored against them in the two times they have played each other just to reinforce that this was always going to be City's title and a real gulf still remains. Of course the title isn't over yet but Arsenal have gone 4 games without a win and you can't be delivering that form in April of any season, be it trying to win the league or survive in it. City don't recognise that form and that is why they are set to win an incredible hat trick of league titles.
The survival game is making for an intriguing story. At one point as many as 8 clubs were ripe for a drop into the Championship. That has been whittled down to 5 clubs although could West Ham become the sixth? At present the Hammers are four points clear of the dreaded five and one more win from their remaining five games should secure their status for next season. One club who seemingly won't is Southampton. Not only are the Saints bottom of the league but with 24 points they are 6 points from safety which is really seven when you factor in goal difference and with only 12 points remaining on the board the club would have to win every game to have a chance of staying up. Their next game is crucial as it's against another relegation threatened side in Nottingham Forest, and lose that and we can say that the Saints won't be playing Premier League football next season. However compared to some of the teams down there apart from their last game which is against Liverpool, Southampton has a favourable run in.
The same can't be said for Leeds who will have to face Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham. It's hard to see the club winning any of those games and with just 30 points they are currently in 17th place but would go down if they cannot create some real surprises. All eyes have been on Everton simply because they have been such a regular staple of top flight football since the 1950s, however in truth Everton have been dancing with a relegation threat over their heads for the past 30 years, with the odd good improving season, they have been like a fish in the ocean avoiding the net somehow and just being able to get away with it. The club's latest 2-2 draw away to Leicester seemed to play out as a summary of their season so far. Riding their luck, defence not being in sync with one another, hoofing the ball, clearing it anywhere but also showing signs of good attacking play, all the while being overseen by moments of frustration and what could have been. Everton perhaps have some winnable games coming up but two of those against Brighton and Bournemouth are away from home, and the Toffees have only won one this season. Draws have slightly pushed the club into the right direction but draws can feel like defeats at this stage of the season and 3 points can feel like six, Everton must find a way to push on. What looks clear is that the relegation battle is going to go down to the final weekend as the Premier League is about to serve up its main course.
To be relegated: (not including Southampton), Leeds 1.50, Everton 1.66, Nottingham Forest 1.72, Leicester 2.75, West Ham 34.00