With the second half of the Premier League season now well underway, the 2020-21 title race is truly heating up. Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool have emerged as title contenders in a season which could result in one of the closest title races in recent years.
Although these teams are currently leading the chase, there is plenty of football to be played this season and no doubt many twists and turns to be had in the final 19 games.
On current form, Manchester City are head and shoulders above the rest. Man United faltered recently, losing to Sheffield United to end a 13 game unbeaten run in the Premier League. United’s away form has been particularly strong this season and they have taken 27 points from a possible 33 on the road — the best return in the division.
City are in equally good form. Since their 2-0 loss away to Spurs in November, Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten, winning ten of their last twelve and securing 24 points from their last 24 available — more than any other team.
Leicester are this season’s surprise package in the title race. Brendan Rodgers’ side started the season inconsistently but the Foxes’ have since regained momentum, with just one loss in their last ten league matches.
Last season’s champions, Liverpool, are enduring one of their worst runs under Jürgen Klopp. The Reds emphatic home record of 68 games unbeaten at Anfield came to an end recently after a 1-0 defeat to Burnley.
It extended Liverpool’s run without a win to five games and it was the fourth game in a row where the Reds failed to score, but they were able to halt this run with an impressive win against Tottenham.
For league leaders United, Bruno Fernandes will be key to their success. The Portuguese leads the way for both goals (11) and assists (7) for the Red Devils this season. Paul Pogba has also returned to form recently, with two goals in his last three matches, while the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavanni have been consistent with their contributions throughout the season.
Kevin De Bruyne has been City’s main man during this campaign, notching up ten assists and three goals, but recently picked up an injury. Ilkay Gündogan has stepped up in his absence, scoring five in his last eight, and young midfielder Phil Foden is City’s top-scorer this season with eight in all competitions.
Several players have contributed heavily to Leicester’s success this season. Jamie Vardy is one the league’s top-scorers with 11, while youngsters Harvey Barnes and James Maddison have been a constant threat for the Foxes’, also contributing goals during this campaign.
Liverpool will need their top players to help turnaround their season and Mohamed Salah could be the difference. He has 13 goals already this season but just one in his last six. The likes of Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino need to reclaim their form from last season to improve on a combined 13 goals. Diogo Jota’s return could also be influential in turning Liverpool’s fortunes around.
In United’s 13 games unbeaten, they only dropped points against Liverpool, Leicester and Man City, drawing each of these games.
Leicester have been very inconsistent against their title rivals, beating City 5-2 emphatically early in the season, drawing 0-0 with United, then losing 3-0 to Liverpool.
City have only picked up two points against Liverpool and Man United, which could come back to haunt them in the later stages of the season. Liverpool have been the best performers in head to heads this season, drawing two and winning one against their title rivals.
All four teams still need to play each other later this season. The results of these fixtures could determine who will lift the 2020-21 Premier League title.