With Chelsea sitting top of the Premier League with five wins out of five and Eden Hazard being described as the best player in Europe, is it time Maurizio Sarri’s men were taken seriously as title contenders?
The Blues are currently 10/1 shots to lift the Premier League title next May with Manchester City odds-on favourites and Liverpool widely regarded as their nearest challengers at 7/4.
Should Jurgen Klopp’s men be quite so far ahead of Chelsea in the betting though? They’ve certainly invested heavily enough in the summer and are also unbeaten but there are a few factors working in the Londoners favour that means they should perhaps be taken a bit more seriously.
- Premier League title odds: Chelsea 10/1, Liverpool 7/4
- Klopp: Spurs win best of the season
- Hazard hits hat-trick to go top
Despite having a new manager at the helm Chelsea have managed to win every game, they’ve outscored Liverpool and their famed front three by three goals and have quietly gone about their business without making too many headlines.
That could change by the end of the month when Liverpool and Chelsea face each other twice in three days, and that will be the real test of who holds the upper hand this season.
Chelsea’s squad filled with title winning experience
Only James Milner and Daniel Sturridge have won the Premier League from Liverpool’s squad, while Chelsea still have 11 players from their last title win just a couple of years ago, so it’s strange that so many people have discounted their credentials.
It’s not exactly out of the ordinary for Chelsea to respond from a so-so season with a title victory – as they’ve won the Premier League in 2015 and 2017 but followed up with disappointing efforts. You could say they’re due to win the title this year!
Chelsea are the one club in the league that can seemingly chop and change their managers without affecting their title chances. Sarri would just be the latest man to challenge for silverware after only just arriving in Stamford Bridge – the shelf life is so short at the team that managers need to win quickly.
They've also got Eden Hazard playing some of the best football of his career and forming what he thinks could be a sparkling partnership with Olivier Giroud.
Liverpool face a tough run of fixtures
Klopp’s Reds face games against Chelsea and Manchester City in the next few weeks with Champions League games against PSG and Napoli sandwiched in between.
It’s a tough stretch that, while it may not full define their season, will go a long way to determining just what they can get out of this campaign.
Chelsea, by contrast, have what on paper at least looks like a more comfortable time of things, they of course have European football but the Europa League does not need as much attention.
In the league, their ‘big’ games seem a bit more spread out as their Liverpool double-header is followed by Man Utd in October, Spurs in November and Man City in December. Avoiding a run of tough fixtures can help rebuilding momentum.
No Champions League gives Chelsea an advantage
It’s happened a few times and with Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea themselves all benefiting from no European football to launch title challenges.
Chelsea do have European football but Sarri can afford to make changes as and when he sees fit after seeing the Europa league draw.
While Liverpool will be embroiled in big European nights against PSG, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade, Chelsea will be taking on teams made up of left over scrabble letters with their Europa League foes being PAOK Salonika, MOL Vidi, BATE Borisov.
It’s not only the emotions of playing in these bigger games but also the fact that Sarri will feel comfortable making changes to his side while Klopp will surely have to go full strength with such big names facing them in Europe’s premier competition.
Head-to-heads will give us an early indicator
Chelsea travel to Anfield in a Carabao Cup tie on Wednesday September 26 before hosting Klopp’s side in the Premier League three days later.
It’s an intriguing couple of games that will show us the true strength of the respective squads as both managers will look to make changes for the midweek cup game.
Chelsea may well feel more relaxed about the game given it comes in the middle of Liverpool’s crunch run of fixtures – as they travel to Napoli and then host Manchester City in the following two matches.
If results don’t quite go Liverpool’s way during that period then Chelsea will be much shorter than 10/1 to win the Premier League and could even find themselves installed as the new main challengers to Manchester City.