John Barnes: Why Arsenal and their title rivals should be very worried about Chelsea
John Barnes says Chelsea are starting to show that they can win games without playing well, which is an ominous sign for their rivals
John Barnes believes that Chelsea’s brilliant recent form makes them the favourites to win the Premier League title this season – and says their ability to grind out results sets them apart from their rivals.
The west London side have been the standout performers in the Premier League in recent weeks and Antonio Conte’s men notched up their 10th win in the top flight on the spin on Wednesday night when they beat Sunderland 1-0.
Their dramatic upturn in form under new boss Conte is in stark contrast to their stuttering performances last season, when they finished 10th and with their title defence in tatters following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
The Blues are six points clear of Liverpool and Arsenal heading into the hectic festive period in the Premier League.
Barnes feels that Chelsea have emerged as the favourites to win the title thanks to their ability to win games even when not at their best – an ominous sign which the Liverpool legend believes should worry their title rivals.
“For me, Chelsea are the favourites,” said Barnes, speaking in an exclusive interview with The Sport Review.
“Of course, they haven’t got European football, so week in, week out they can concentrate on the league.
“But football can change. Manchester City were the favourites [at the start of the season] but their adaptation to Pep Guardiola will take time. They have to get the right players in – at the moment I don’t think they’ve got the right personnel for what he wants.
“Manchester City will be stronger next year but I think they’ll be in the top two this season.
“I think Chelsea are favourites. Sometimes they don’t play well but win 1-0 – and that’s the sign of champions.”
Chelsea travel to Crystal Palace in their final Premier League game before Christmas on Saturday afternoon, while Manchester City host Arsenal at The Etihad.