I am sure that when Liverpool beat Manchester United early in the season they viewed the victory as a significant win against title contenders. As it turned out in this topsy turvy season all they had managed was a narrow win against a mid-table side! At the beginning of the 2013/2014 Premier League season I wrote about my growing weariness with the predictability of it all only to look rather foolish now as the usual order of things has been turned on its head.
Had I been told that a third of the way through the season Arsenal would top the table, Liverpool would be in second, Manchester United would be languishing mid table and Southampton contending for a Champions League spot I would not have believed it. Nor, I am convinced, would anyone else! Sometimes, however, the truth is stranger than any fiction. Usually the festive period clarifies a few issues in football and the nature of the title chase and the struggle against relegation begin to become clear but that won’t be possible this year. It is looks like the title, the Champions League places and the relegation spots won’t be decided until the eleventh hour and so this season should prove to be the most gripping for years.
Every season throws up a few unexpected results and crazy goings on but nothing like this year. If any further evidence of the uniqueness of the situation was needed then this past week certainly provided it. How many surprises and incredible feats is it possible to cram into one week? Quite a few as it turns out. Manchester United lost twice at home, Luis Suarez grabbed four goals in a single game, Chelsea managed to lose to Stoke and there were so many wonder goals that I lost count. It wasn’t just the premiership that made the news either. Blackpool had five players sent off in 4 days, six players were arrested for match fixing, Arsenal and Tottenham drew each other in the FA Cup and England drew the proverbial group of death in the World Cup.
After years bemoaning how predictable the game was becoming I am now once again completely engaged in proceedings. I only hope that the current trend continues right through to the summer. Someone other than Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City winning the Premier League would be great. Southampton or Everton making the Champions league would be even better and dare I think that there could even be a surprise winner of the World Cup? Hell even Luis Suarez has managed to behave himself this season and so anything is possible!
The 2014 Premier League title race could quite conceivably involve as many as 7 teams with several of them taking things right down to the wire. The way things are going I can’t see anyone putting the Champagne on ice until the final day and we could actually enjoy one of those wonderful last days of the season when several outcomes are possible. I just love the tension of it all and as a Liverpool fan I hope I am one of those celebrating something when it is all over. I don’t think it will be the title but a return to the Champions League looks on if Suarez can keep his mouth shut and so maybe it will be me with the fine wine out toasting success in May!
Article by Sally Stacey