Arsenal’s drab draw lets ‘Chihuahuas’ Liverpool back in title race
Liverpool have moved ahead of Arsenal as third-favourites to win the Premier League after earning a dramatic late win at basement club Fulham. The Reds are now four points off top spot and 8/1 shots to lift their first top-flight title since 1990, ahead of the Gunners at 9/1.
Arsenal, meanwhile, played out a dour goalless draw with reigning champions Manchester United. Like 6/4 second-favourites and current leaders Chelsea, they dropped precious points. Manchester City, who are deemed mostly likely to take the crown by Coral at 11/10, did not even kick a ball.
Twice behind at 1-0 and 2-1 at Craven Cottage, Brendan Rodgers hailed the resolve of his Liverpool side as they ran out 3-2 winners. “We may be the Chihuahuas that run in between the horses’ legs,” he said – a reference to Jose Mourinho’s now infamous description of Chelsea as a “little horse”.
Metaphors aside, the Reds are now nine matches unbeaten in all competitions since losing back-to-back matches with City and the Blues between Christmas and New Year. Liverpool are also odds-on at 1/5 for a top-four finish – again ahead of Arsenal, who have drifted to 2/9.
Luis Suarez, the Reds’ leading scorer and top Premier League marksman, has only scored once in his last six outings. What can explain this relative slump? Fear of missing the World Cup on South American soil through injury perhaps.
“The truth is that I am scared of what happened to [Monaco and Colombia striker Radamel] Falcao and [England and Arsenal attacker Theo] Walcott,” Suarez said in a radio interview. Stressing his focus is on club football with Liverpool, he added: “The moment to think about the national team will arrive later.”
Rodgers’ Reds made a disastrous start at Fulham when Kolo Toure put through his own net early on before Daniel Strurridge, who is 12/1 to be Premier League top-scorer, equalised before half time. Former Manchester United man Kieran Richardson restored the hosts’ lead at the Cottage after the hour, but Philippe Coutinho levelled again 10 minutes later.
Fulham full back Sascha Riether then sent Sturridge sprawling in the box, so Reds skipper Steven Gerrard sealed a sensational victory from the spot in stoppage time. Defeat leaves Rene Meulensteen’s men rock bottom and four points from safety.
Tottenham are also keeping pace with fourth-placed Liverpool after putting four past Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Emmanuel Adebayor bagged a brace for Tim Sherwood’s side to continue his renaissance and Spurs are now 2/1 for a top-four finish.
Should Liverpool’s strong form continue into the spring, punters must realise their odds of clinching the Premier League title will only get shorter. Take the fantastic 8/1 price and bet now.