The Premier League season comes to a climax in the coming weeks – but a few key questions still remain unanswered.
Who will win the title? What sides scrapping at the top will pinch those all-important Champions League spots and who will be playing Championship football next term? Oh… and will Chelsea lift the FA Cup and clinch a famous double?
Former Premier League star Danny Gabbidon has given Marathonbet his exclusive thoughts on how he reckons the season will pan out.
Think the ex-Crystal Palace, West Ham, Cardiff and Wales man has it spot on? Let us know your thoughts on Gabs’ predictions by getting in touch on Twitter, Facebook or commenting below.
The title is Chelsea’s to lose really isn’t it? They’ve put themselves in a fantastic position. When you look at the fixtures in the run-in now for Spurs and Chelsea you’d say Conte’s side have the advantage because they have four home games to play above anything else.
Tottenham’s fixtures look a bit more tricky and they’re going on the road more. They’re also up against Crystal Palace who are the in-form team now in the league. Combined with the psychological blow of losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final you just think it’s all stacking up against them. They’ll keep going though until the end of the season and I think they’ll run Chelsea close, but the Blues have too much of a lead now. They won’t lose enough games.
Overall for Spurs though it’s been a good season, even though they’ll finish empty handed. They should be proud of the football they’ve played, which has been some of the best in the league at times. This time last season they imploded a little bit and let Arsenal pip them to second place, so they do look mentally better this campaign. If it wasn’t for a slow start they would have pushed Chelsea a little bit closer and they have also struggled getting results against some of the top teams, but one or two signings in the summer and they’ll be there or there abouts again for a challenge.
At Chelsea, you have to give big credit to the manager who sensed things weren’t going right at the start of the season and made the necessary adjustments to deal with it. He had a tried and trusted formation used at Juventus but he saw what needed changing at Chelsea, especially after that loss to Arsenal, and since then their form has been incredible. I think he’s been great as a man-manager too. The passion he shows, the intensity, all that rubs off on the players and it keeps them hungry all season, which is a difficult thing to do when you have huge personalities in the dressing room. His man-management skills are just as good as his tactical attributes and for a man who has just enjoyed his first season in the Premier League – which is no mean feat when you look how Pep Guardiola has struggled at Man City – he deserves a lot of credit.
This is difficult to predict. You have Spurs who are away and clear of third and then it’s a lottery for the rest. Liverpool have had opportunities to cement themselves in the top four but the draw against Bournemouth and loss to Palace has opened the door for other teams. Manchester United are coming on strong and they’ve got games in hand, so I think away from the top two they’re the team out of the top five or six who look in the best form at the minute. I can see them nicking fourth or perhaps even third depending on Manchester City’s performances from now until the end of the season.
Away from them, Arsenal have had some poor results and they can’t make up the ground now and Liverpool have been dealing with injuries to the likes of Adam Lalana without having the depth in the squad to help them out. That side of things has been exposed at Anfield and I can see them slipping out of the Champions League places from here on.
FA CUP: Chelsea
Another cup for Arsene Wenger could paper over the cracks very slightly after what has been a very poor season but you have to give the man credit for his record in the competition. No manager has won it more than him in history and it shows how good he is, but I think this time it’ll be very difficult to overcome a Chelsea side that we know are very strong.
I think he’ll stay whether Arsenal win or lose but it would be an added bonus for Wenger to win a trophy during a very difficult time for him in his managerial career. Whatever happens it’ll still be considered a pretty poor season for them.
I’m not sure they have enough to beat Chelsea because in all departments Conte’s side are stronger.
RELEGATED: Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Swansea
I think if you look at the bottom of the table now you can safely say Sunderland and Middlesbrough are gone. I watched Boro against Bournemouth at the weekend and they look like a team resigned to their fate really. It was a team lacking in confidence, not really trying anymore and a total loss of belief. They’re getting detached from the teams above them so I think along with Sunderland they are two certainties.
It’s down to two or three teams – Hull, Swansea and Burnley, who are now in free fall. They’re only now a few points off Hull and are quietly getting sucked into the scrap but over the coming games I think it’ll be an outright battle between Swansea and Hull.
Both sides have difficult games coming up but at the minute I think Hull are looking slightly better thanks to their performances at home. Swansea had a win against Stoke at the weekend so that’ll give them a lift off the back of a bad run but if I have to pick one side to face the drop it’s them. In all likelihood it’s a situation that could go right down to the last day, where the relegated club changes as each goal goes in over the 90 minutes.