It’s a story as old as the hills, but 2017 is showing us just how important it can be not only to have a hot streak in the Premier League title race, but to have a hot streak at the right time.
Chelsea have held the number one spot since November, thanks in large part to a 13 match winning streak that pulled them up from eighth that started on the first of October. Chelsea seemingly had the league in hand, flexing a double digit lead over every other team in the league for a significant portion of the season and now the Blues have lost twice in the last four weeks.
But that’s just a piece of the problem.
Looming in the Chelsea’s rear view mirror is a Tottenham Hotspur club determined to finish out on fire. Winning 7 of their last 7, and outscoring their competition 22 goals to 4, Tottenham is making it clear that if anyone is suited to contest Chelsea’s claim to the 2017 title it’s them.
While the scoreline is the be all end all, looking past the big numbers doesn’t lift Chelsea’s hopes either. Diego Costa has all but disappeared, scoring only twice in the last 9 weeks. Talk continues to swirl of him leaving, something common whenever the star faces a drought, but for his own sake (Costa’s 28 with a penchant for suspensions) and for Chelsea’s title run, he needs to get over his bad-boy persona and figure it out. Help win the title Diego and your stock goes way up, then move to whatever club you want.
Willian who seemed on the verge of a break-out season in 2016 has produced at almost exactly the same rate. Last year performances that were deemed stellar (who could forget the lethal free-kicks?) are just passable in keeping the Brazilian in the lineup.
Tottenham strikers on the other hand are firing on all cylinders with Harry Kane just four goals away from league leader Romelu Lukaku. His twenty goals within 24 appearances has Kane producing at a nearly unbelievable rate. Harry Kane is joined by fellow Hotspur Dele Alli in the Premier League top 10 goal scorers. Alli helped to pick up the slack during Kane’s injury, netting 16 goals in 31 appearances, as well as become a face for the club that the fan-base can’t get enough of.
Chelsea need to find their fire in order to ride out the campaign and retain the top spot, otherwise the Hotspurs may just be hoisting their first league championship trophy since 1961.