Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League title have collapsed to just two per cent after their draw at home to Liverpool, analysts have calculated.
The enthralling encounter at Stamford Bridge, which finished 2-2 on Sunday, has hit Liverpool hard, too, with the number crunchers at the football thinktank, the Twenty First Group, now predicting the Reds have only a seven per cent chance of winning the league.
Meanwhile, the analysis for Sportsmail has Manchester City’s odds of retaining the title rocketing to 91 per cent following the Christmas fixtures, even though there are still 17 games to go.
He knows… Manchester City are leaving their rivals in their wake as they pile up the wins
The prediction confirms the worst fears of City’s rivals.
‘Our model uses historical results to understand the strength of all teams’ squads and manager, and simulates the remainder of the league season, accounting for the difficulty of fixtures to come for each team,’ Omar Chaudhuri, the group’s chief intelligence officer told Sportsmail.
The gap at the top of the Premier League has stretched to 10 points, with Manchester City on 53 after their last-gasp win over Arsenal, Chelsea on 43, both teams having played 21 games, and Liverpool on 42 points with a game in hand.
Big leads have been blown before, of course, but not often on this scale. In 1997-98, during Arsene Wenger’s first full season in charge at Highbury, the Gunners overhauled a 12-point gap to Manchester United going into January to win the title.
City’s last-gasp win at Arsenal looked even better when Chelsea and Liverpool drew next day
United struggled after Christmas, losing five times before the end of March, including to their London rivals.
Arsenal, however, did not lose between December 26 and May 6 and won the league with a couple of games to spare.
While Chelsea and Liverpool are both capable of a similar run this season, the problem is City’s mesmerizing form and the analysts see little hope for the would-be challengers.
The Twenty First Group works with many of the leading sides across Europe to help them make strategic decisions on the future of their clubs and the company has developed accurate modelling techniques to support their work.
Marcos Alonso and his Chelsea team mates came back from two goals down against Liverpool, but the draw did not suit either side, which were both after a win. Pictured Liverpool’s Fabinho
‘The model is used by, amongst other things, ownership groups of football clubs to help them forecast outcomes and inform decisions such as the amount of spending required in order to avoid relegation,’ added Chaudhuri.
Chelsea’s challenge faltered in November, beginning with a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley having dominated the game at the beginning of the month.
In the following ten matches, the Blues have managed only four wins, drawing five and losing one in a period in which they have suffered with Covid, injuries and most recently, the fallout of Romelu Lukaku’s ill-judged interview.
Liverpool have fared better over the same period and looked like they had hit their stride in November and early December, before they stumbled at Tottenham Hotspur on December 19 in a Covid-affected fixture.
Thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge was spectacle for neutrals but frustrating for fans
The 2-2 draw – another thriller – took some wind out of their sails, but at that point the Twenty First Group still had the Reds’ chances of winning the title at 22 per cent. Essentially, it came down to matching City and winning at the Etihad, when the clubs meet on April 9.
However, misfiring at Leicester City on December 28, where Liverpool lost 1-0, and squandering a two-goal lead at the Bridge has left the Anfield outfit trailing.
In contrast, Manchester City have been relentless throughout November and December and into January, winning 11 out of 11 matches.
Arsene Wenger (r), Emmanuel Petit and Arsenal overcame a 12-point deficit to win the Premier League title in 1998, but rivals Manchester United lost five times after Christmas
‘That’s why Liverpool won’t win the league this season,’ conceded ex-Reds hero Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports, following Sunday’s rip-roaring contest.
‘Liverpool have taken the lead 17 times this season and so have Manchester City but Man City have won every single one.
‘Liverpool have won twelve so what Liverpool are lacking that they had in that title-winning season is actually control of a football game.’
Liverpool last lifted the Premier League title in 2019-20, Chelsea have not won it since 2016-17, and Manchester City now seem set to enjoy another back-to-back triumph, which would make it four wins in five years.