As we enter the festive season and start to unwind, the English Premier League heads into its most gruelling month of football.
Much has been said about the fixture congestion and the negative physical effects of playing so much football in such a short space of time. But with the amount of money being invested into the clubs by broadcasters and sponsors, it is hard to see this overload of fixtures changing. Fans, however, are certainly not complaining.
How are things shaping up?
Tottenham Hotspur, spearheaded by serial-winner, José Mourinho, head into the festive period as league leaders. The Kane-Son duo, along with a disciplined defensive and central midfield unit, are looking to remain consistent in their attempts to win their first league since 1961.
Defending champions Liverpool welcome back a couple of their stars right before a top of the table clash with Spurs. Despite missing up to eight first-team players at a point, they remain in contention to retain their title. As the current leading goal scorers in the league, their attack will play a crucial role in the defence of their title.
After spending over 200 million Euros on new signings during the transfer window, Chelsea were seen as dark horses in the title race at the start of the season. However, their team chemistry, improved defensive displays, free-flowing football and squad depth make them less of an underdog – and more of a frontrunner for the title.
A change in tactics saw Pep’s Manchester City make a slow, conservative start to the season. However, over the past two game weeks, the shackles seem to have come off after scoring 7 unanswered goals. The change in formation has improved their defensive woes which was their Achilles heel last season. Expect more fireworks from the Cityzens as they attempt to make their way back to the top of the log.
There never seems to be a dull moment at Manchester United. The Red Devils currently have the best away record in the league and only find themselves 5 points off the summit with a game in hand. However, their exit from the Champions League has left many fans unhappy. Will we get the fast-paced attack from Utd? Or will their confidence be dented by their disappointing result in midweek?
After the culmination of December’s fixtures, the league leaders generally go on to win the league. But with the current table so compact, and with so many surprise results already – it is difficult for anyone to predict who the winner will be. As infections continue to rise in South Africa, at least football fans know that we will be entertained whether we enter another lockdown or not.
*These are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Vannie Kaap News.