Talking Soccer: Can Chelsea be caught?

In this Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 photo, Hull City's Ryan Mason, right, is injured during a header with Chelsea's Gary Cahill, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge stadium in London. Hull midfielder Mason underwent surgery after fracturing his skull during a clash of heads during a Premier League match at Chelsea on Sunday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The Premier League season is back underway after the Christmas break, and with it this semester’s rendition of Talking Soccer. The table has shaped up and Chelsea sits eight points over Arsenal in second, with fifth place Manchester City only 12 behind with 43 points total. With Chelsea so far ahead in the race to the end of the season, it begs the question whether any of the other teams at the top are capable of causing problems for them in their attempt at the title.

Arsenal is closest to the top, however they have shown their problems with finishing their schedule out time and time again. With an inevitable drop in form coming for the Gunners as their constant injury problems will no doubt add up, it seems unreasonable that they will be able to stick at the top against the rest of the teams.

Behind Arsenal is Tottenham, and while they have a strong team with a certain fire to them, they also have shown time and time again a lack of mental focus. I believe they will once again finish below Arsenal in the table. Harry Kane has shown he has actual talent and can compete with the best defenders in the league, however I don’t think the support and rest of the team are able to provide enough firepower to push them up farther in the table.

Sitting in fourth and fifth, Liverpool and Manchester City are interesting cases. Liverpool is a constant underperformer, however they have shown flair this season and could definitely come into form and prove deadly. On the other side, Manchester City looked to be the best team going into the winter break. Injuries and a lack of consistency have brought them down. While the team will no doubt regain form and start making a push for the top of the table, I don’t think they will have enough in the tank as the season ends to bring a championship to Manchester.

With all of these factors considered, it doesn’t look like Chelsea has a strong chance of falling from grace. Their team is performing consistently all around and at a high level, and even the drama surrounding Diego Costa’s possible move to China does not look like enough to disrupt the dressing room under Antonio Conte. All of this could change in the tail-end of the season with the volatile nature of the Premier League, however, and one team’s strong performance could be enough to seal a table victory at the end of the season.


Joe Burns is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joseph.burns@uconn.edu.