As of now, most betting sites in the UK are going to list Manchester City as the heavy, heavy favourites to take home the Premier League title this season.
City have amassed an amazing 40 points through 14 matches, and they’re comfortably 8 points in front of second place Manchester United.
Chelsea, last season’s league champs, sit third on 29 points through 14 matches of their own. The Blues have played well this season, even if they have not yet been able to live up to last season’s incredible form. Still, Chelsea have already cruised through the group stages of the Champions League and remain among the favorites to snag another top-4 spot in the Premier League at season’s end.
With so much talent at his disposal, manager Antonio Conte has been forced to shuffle his squad on a game-to-game basis. Conte made 4 changes ahead of Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Swansea City. Cesar Azpilicueta, Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko were among those left out of the midweek clash. Azpilicueta had a run of 74 consecutive Premier League starts halted.
While certain players may not like the way Conte shuffles the side, midfielder Cesc Fabregas says the players must accept Conte’s rotations for what they are, rather than dwelling on them. Fabregas believes that Conte’s strategy will help keep the squad fresh through what is a grueling schedule in the winter months.
Fabregas told the London Evening Standard, “We have to cope with the situation. No one can play every three days even if we want to. If you keep playing, you will keep carrying knocks so it is good to have a break sometimes and come back fresher.”
The Blues struggled in attack against Swansea without Hazard, who has contributed 3 goals and a pair of assists in 7 Premier League games thus far this season.
“To know that the team is performing and winning without Eden really being involved is very good. We started the season without him and he didn’t start against Swansea because he is the best player [and needed a rest].”
Chelsea have won 5 of their last 6 matches in the league, with this past weekend’s draw against Liverpool being the only instance in which the Blues dropped points. The club is in the midst of a flurry of games. Chelsea have 6 matches on the schedule ahead of December 20, including a Champions League tilt with Atletico Madrid next week.
“It is crucial for him [Conte] and the team to see that we can trust anyone. In this case it’s a double victory because everyone is hungry to win, to play and to make it difficult for the manager,” Fabregas said.
Despite their 6-match unbeaten run, the Blues are still a distant 11 points back of City, who have won 13 of their 14 matches on the season. Manchester City’s lone blemish was a draw against lowly Everton.
When asked about the league leaders, Fabregas said, “Let’s see what happens. They are doing well but we have to keep an eye on the top and get closer and closer. We wish that they will drop points and you keep them in mind. Obviously they are at the top and we want to be at the top. We have to keep doing what we are doing, winning and winning.”