Unpredictable games make for great viewing

Unpredictable games make for great viewing

With the English Premier League (EPL) entering its final phase, football fans can regard it as the most competitive and exciting league to watch this season.

The title race, scramble to avoid relegation and the quest to qualify for Europe are still undecided, with most clubs having only six games left to play.

Contrast that to the situation in Germany, where Bayern Munich wrapped up the Bundesliga title with seven matches to spare last week. In Italy, Juventus hold an 11-point lead while Paris Saint-Germain are 13 points ahead in France.

Yet, in the EPL, only a handful of points separate the top four teams. Current leaders Liverpool are two points ahead of closest rivals Chelsea while Manchester City (with two games in hand) and Arsenal are four and seven points adrift from the top respectively.

With Brendan Rodgers' table-toppers due to play their two closest rivals in the next month, and Manuel Pellegrini's City boasting the extra games to capitalise on, things could change very quickly at the top of the table.

Just below the top four lies another tussle as clubs fight for a place in Europe next season.

Although Everton and Tottenham Hotspur are currently jockeying for the second-tier Europa League, they still harbour hopes of usurping Arsenal for the final Champions League spot.

The duo are four and eight points away respectively.

Below them are giants-in-transition Manchester United, who could also get into the Europa League.

To make matters even more exciting - or agonising if your favourite club need a result - is how unpredictable many matches are proving to be.

Having initially ruled his Arsenal side out of the title race after a disappointing draw against Swansea last Tuesday, Arsene Wenger's team produced a spirited comeback against Manchester City on Saturday.

That earned them a point and showed there may still be some fight left in the Gunners.

When Chelsea played relegation-threatened Crystal Palace later on the same day, they were expected to see the Eagles off easily.

Instead, Chelsea suffered a shock 0-1 loss, proving that teams battling to save their necks at the bottom of the table can also directly affect affairs at the top.

Although Crystal Palace's squad pale in comparison to Jose Mourinho's, the south Londoners played with plenty of fighting spirit to take all three points.

That is what teams in the top half of the league have to be wary of in the final stage of the season.

In the bottom half of the table, 10 teams are still faced with the prospect of relegation into the Championship, with just 10 points separating the clubs in 11th position down to 20th, the last spot in the table. The fear of the drop can prove to be a big motivator, and that can drive teams to perform above anyone's expectations.

No team at the top are safe and all four title hopefuls have to play at least one of the sides threatened by relegation.

Manchester City play three teams in big trouble - Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace - and things may not go to plan.

If they do not match the ferocity and desire shown by their "lesser" opponents, they risk dropping precious points and kissing their title hopes goodbye.


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