Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he thinks the Premier League title will be won by one of five teams this season and controversially omitted Chelsea from the quintet.
Speaking to German magazine Kicker, the Manchester United legend said:
“I think there are five potential candidates: Manchester City as favourites, Tottenham and Liverpool, but also United are still there if we get some consistency soon.’
He added that Arsenal can’t be ruled out either having been impressed with young winger Alex Iwobi, but he doesn’t see Chelsea being amongst the frontrunners come May.
It’s not an assessment the bookies agree with, pricing Antonio Conte’s crowd up as 13/2 fourth favourites to win the title and the news.bwin tipping taskforce believe they’re well in with a shout.
Here are five reasons why Sir Alex is wrong not to back the Blues:
They’re the only team outside the Manchester clubs and Leicester with title-winning form since 2004.
Two different Chelsea managers have lifted the Premier League trophy four times since Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ season, a total only Manchester United can beat, with the latest coming as recently as 2014/15.
The bulk of that team remains intact.
Last season was an unmitigated disaster at Chelsea, but 13 members of the current first-team helped the club hoist the most sought-after prize in English football in 2015 and in N’Golo Kante, they’ve added a champion from the previous campaign too.
The ranks are teeming with league-winning knowhow.
Their manager is no rookie when it comes to winning leagues either.
Conte has three Serie A titles on his CV having restored Juventus to the seat of power in Italian football.
The dominance currently enjoyed by the Old Lady arguably wouldn’t be possible were it not for the Italian tactician, who, in 2011/12, steered Juve to their first calcio crown (that wasn’t later revoked) since 2002/03.
Their home form is definitely that of a title contender.
A 2-1 defeat against Liverpool is the only blot on an otherwise immaculate copybook at home. The west Londoners have won the other five fixtures contested at Stamford Bridge.
They’ve shown an ability to beat their rivals.
In toppling Man Utd, West Ham and Leicester (twice, if the EFL Cup extra-time win is included), Chelsea have overcome three of last season’s top-seven already.
They’re currently a point behind leaders Man City and their start is widely considered to have been an unspectacular one during Conte’s fledgling days in English football.
As he acclimatises, it stands to reason the Blues will improve so can’t possibly discounted from the title race at this stage.