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Chelsea can make it a 3-horse race

Saturday, 29 December 2012 - 4:00am IST | Agency: DNA
The general sentiment heading into the final round of fixtures this year is that Manchester United are running away with the title after their neighbours Manchester City slipped up against Sunderland to fall seven points behind at the top of the table.

The general sentiment heading into the final round of fixtures this year is that Manchester United are running away with the title after their neighbours Manchester City slipped up against Sunderland to fall seven points behind at the top of the table.

However, allow me to remind everyone of last season, when City surrendered a five-point lead before December and United repaid the favour with interest — letting slip an eight point lead in April as the trophy went to the blue half of Manchester.

By the same token, it would be extremely naive to proclaim United as the champions-elect this early in the season.

Chelsea continued their excellent run of form with a huge win over Aston Villa and another, albeit shaky one, over Norwich. This, combined with United and City dropping points over the two games, the Blues cannot be discounted from the title race now.

They are currently four points behind City, but are expected to win the game in hand against Southampton to close the gap, which means that it will take merely one more week like this to make it a three-horse race for the Premier League title.

I’m not saying that it is going to be easy though, especially when Chelsea themselves are prone to the occasional blip in form. The only thing that is for sure is that the top of the table is not set in stone at the moment. With that being said, we now turn an eye to the transfer window that opens next week.

Fans will probably be excited at the prospects of new faces arriving to reinforce their clubs, but I think it will be a fairly quiet one this time.

I’ll be surprised if Manchester United sign anyone – their squad is big enough to deal with the injury problems like the ones they have now without compromising too much on their quality.

The same goes for City. Their current position can be put down to a misfiring front line. For example, they had almost 70% of possession in the 1-0 loss against Sunderland midweek and created plenty of chances, but their finishing was just poor.

There are two teams I know who will need to sign players in January – Liverpool and Chelsea.

The Reds will definitely be out to add to their squad as Brendan Rodgers’ revolution is far from finished. He will need another striker to back Suarez up but he doesn’t fancy recalling Andy Carroll back from West Ham — there are rumours of Sturridge making a move to Liverpool, which is a start, but I think Rodgers will go on and sign another player or two.

Chelsea will probably bear a lot of scrutiny this window with their big-spending ways and their prime position to push the Manchester clubs in the title race. They surely need a quality striker too, to deputise or even partner Torres up front, especially if Sturridge leaves for Liverpool.

Torres has been leading the line since the start of the season and will need a break before the end of the season — who may the striker be?
 

— Former Liverpool and England International Steve McMahon is a football expert with ESPN
 




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