Chelsea have been fairly uninspiring for large parts of the season, but the failure of any notable challenge from another team going into April, means that Jose Mourinho’s side are stumbling towards another Premier League crown.
Odds of 1/25 suggest that Chelsea have a 96.2 per cent chance of winning the title, and that doesn’t offer up a whole lot of value for punters looking to make a few quid on the run-in to the end of the season. Luckily however, we can take Chelsea out of the title picture in one fell swoop, by looking at the betting without Mourinho’s men. It’s a far more exciting title race and there’s the extra benefit of not getting stamped on by Diego Costa or being racially abused by John Terry.
Just two points separate Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City with just seven games remaining and there’s a decent punt to be had in a title race that could go down to the wire.
Louis Van Gaal’s side have, arguably the toughest run-in with trips to Chelsea, Everton and in-form Crystal Palace, as well as visits from Manchester City and Arsenal on the horizon. United have won four, drawn two, and lost just one of their seven games against the top six this season so fans may see a bit of value in their odds of 5/2, however it’s hardly an ideal finish to the season.
Across the city and Manuel Pellegrini’s side are in free-fall. A month ago Manchester City were still competing for the league title, and now it looks like they’ll be struggling to finish in the top three. The Citizens have now lost three away games on the spin in the league and face trips to United and Tottenham on the road next. Defeats in both of those games could write off City’s chances of finishing second, and five of their remaining seven games are against teams in the top nine. It’s a rougher schedule than daytime TV on the BBC.
Arsenal on the other hand have four games against teams in the bottom seven and are on an incredible streak of form. The Gunners have won 12 of their 14 games since Christmas Day and no team has averaged as many points per game in 2015 as Arsene Wenger’s men. They have the advantage already sat in second on 63 points, and away trips to Burnley and Hull, combined with home games against Sunderland and West Brom could easily return the maximum 12 points.
Although they face Chelsea at the Emirates and Manchester United at Old Trafford – two fixtures that in recent years have been as kind to Arsenal as a swift kick to the plums – the Gunners 4-1 victory against Liverpool on Saturday and 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium in January show that Wenger seems finally capable of putting it up to the big boys.
The Gunners are Evens to win this particular ‘title race’ and, even if they lost to Chelsea and United, they could well still pick up 15 points between now and the end of the season. That would mean Man Utd, if you think they’ll beat Hull and West Brom as well, would need seven points from games against Palace, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City. While City themselves, would need to win five of their last seven – not an impossible feat, but considering their recent run, hardly one you’d be in a rush to back.
At the minute Arsenal are rightly favourites – and depending on the result of the Manchester Derby – that price of Evens might look like a stroke of genius by Monday morning. However as Manchester City have shown, even top teams can spontaneously combust in the most dramatic fashion. This particular title race could easily go down to the final day.