Every year they flirt with the league title and every year they, well they do an Arsenal. The writing has been on the wall for weeks and while they lasted longer this season than normal, their removal from the title race was as brutal as it was inevitable. Heavy defeats at Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea interspersed with damp squib performances against the likes of Swansea and Stoke. It's just so, so Arsenal.
And then there were three. Three teams that can realistically win the most unpredictable title race in years.
- Mourinho's 'Plucky War Horse' Chelsea - Well financed, just as boring to watch as the Spielberg film, but annoyingly successful. Led by the bravest man to ever exist, England's Brave John Terry.
- Pelligrini's 'Galacticos' Manchester City - The most expensively assembled squad in league history and self styled 'Biggest Team in Manchester', despite only winning three trophies since I was born.
- Rodger's ' Tricky Red Sox' Liverpool - More major trophies than any other team in England, but no title in 24 years. The 'Neutrals' favourite (unless you're from Manchester, or London, or one half of Merseyside, or most of England). Still searching for a perch, last seen on the back of a Man Utd team bus circa 1993.
A title race with no Man Utd and no Arsenal. There are grown adults who may not remember such a time. Indeed Liverpool haven't finished above both Arsenal and Man Utd since they last won the title in 1990.
There are 7 games to go (9 if you are Man City) and the media are starting to latch on to the thought of a Liverpool title win. It's romantic (perhaps not for Man Utd and Everton fans). A former great, that had long since ceded it's crown, rising from the ashes of mediocrity to do battle with evil (teams bankrolled by men with more money than some African nations). I can see the Sky Sports montages now as numerous pundits fall over themselves to hype up the GREATEST EVENT IN HISTORY with each passing game.
7 games. How will anyone cope?
Truth is, Man City still have it in their hands. They win their remaining games and they can still afford to lose to Liverpool in a couple of weeks and take the title. I do fancy Liverpool at home to the big teams, but on paper you'd have to say it is still a toss up between Chelsea and Man City.
But. What If? In a season when Man Utd collapsed faster than Nick Clegg's popularity and no one saw Liverpool coming. What if?
7 games left. Liverpool have won 7 in a row. Still unbeaten in 2014 in the league with 32 points from 36. That's what they call 'form'. Plus Liverpool have shown they can 'win ugly', a feat that Chelsea manage almost every week (unless they play Arsenal). A team does not win the title on flair alone, and last night Liverpool returned to Anfield after a month away to much fanfare. They proceeded to put in a nervous and quite poor performance, yet still walk away with the win.
Liverpool can win the title. Cats out of the bag, so there's no point hiding anymore. 1 point off the top with 7 games to go, only an idiot would say we weren't in it (step forward Jose Mourinho and his 'mind' games). But Liverpool need help. Winning their games won't be enough. They need help to slay the beast that is Manchester City.
They need Arsenal to have their final say in this title race. Arsenal may be out of it, but they play Man City at home in 3 days time. This is their chance to prove to everyone that they aren't a spent force. This is their chance to solidify their grip on 4th place. This is their chance to help out their old friends Liverpool ;)
Come on Arsenal. 'Av em'
And while we're at it, Crystal Palace, if you'd like to turn up against Chelsea on Saturday, that would be pretty spiffing too.