Chelsea’s 6-0 shellacking of local foes Arsenal effectively eliminated the Gunners from the race to wear this season’s Premier League crown, whittling the field down from four teams to three.
Liverpool and Manchester City are the two stables remaining in the title triple threat, yet a four-point gap separates the Blues from their mundanely monikered brethren the Reds in second.
Taking the games in-hand of their rivals out of the equation, this fluffy cushion should be more than enough to see Jose Mourinho’s side home, so why are they not favourites to finish the campaign top of the pile?
A fantastic price of 17/10 says Chelsea will win the league and here are the two leading factors that will knock the wheels off their rivals.
An uber-friendly fixture list has pitted the west-enders against just one top seven foe between now and the season’s end.
Liverpool are said foe, with every other of their remaining seven league games against basement-dwellers and also-rans.
Man City have three games in-hand, but they must travel to Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton as well as Anfield between now and the campaign’s end and it’s difficult to envisage them picking up the maximum allocation from those fixtures.
A defence that’s conceded just three goals in nine outings is far superior to those of the chasing pack.
While City have the fixture list conspiring against them, Liverpool’s penchant for poor defending will see them scuppered as the campaign draws to a close.
A 6-3 victory over Cardiff took the Merseysiders’ top-tier haul to 82 for the season, but the fact that they shipped a treble against one of the leanest attacks in the division must be concern.
It wasn’t just a one-off either, with Swansea scoring as many in their latest dust-up with Brendan Rodgers’ men, who required three themselves to see off Fulham after giving up two goals to the Cottagers.
It’ll be almost impossible for the Reds to fire anything like the half-dozen they struck in south Wales when they face Chelsea, whose rearguard know-how is more than ample to see off Luis Suarez and co.