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May 1, 2014

Three teams still battling for EPL title

With two weeks left in the Premier League season, three teams can still win the title. Liverpool is atop the table with 80 points, followed by Chelsea with 78. Manchester City is in third with 77 points, but has a game in hand on the two teams it's chasing.

According to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), the title race is basically a dead heat between Manchester City and Liverpool entering the weekend. Manchester City travels to Everton on Saturday in a match that will play a large part in deciding this season’s champion.

Man City is currently the slightest of favorites to win the title, doing so 48 percent of the time compared to 46 percent for Liverpool, according to SPI.

City is favored to win its match on Saturday at Everton, though not heavily on the road at the fifth-place team. Currently, Manchester City wins out 31 percent of the time according to SPI. If City wins at Everton on Saturday, that number increases to 66 percent. City’s final two matches are at home against Aston Villa and West Ham, and City is favored to win each of those matches over 80 percent of the time.

Liverpool’s loss at Chelsea last Sunday means that the Reds no longer control their own destiny for the title. Liverpool is favored to win each of its remaining two matches (at Crystal Palace, vs. Newcastle), and wins both of them 48 percent of the time, according to SPI. However, winning may not be enough. If both teams win this weekend, Manchester City becomes the title favorite, winning the league 71 percent of the time compared to 28 percent for Liverpool. Currently, both teams win out 15 percent of the time, but a City win on Saturday more than doubles that to 31 percent. In that case, it would come down to goal differential, where City currently has an eight-goal advantage.

Chelsea has the easiest road to its maximum number of points, which is 84. Chelsea is predicted to defeat Norwich City 81 percent of the time and Cardiff City 70 percent of the time, reaching 84 points in 56 percent of the simulations.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, it would likely lose the goal difference tiebreaker if it ended up with the same number of points as either Liverpool or Man City. As a result, the odds for Jose Mourinho’s side to win the title are not great. The percentage of simulations where both City and Liverpool finish with fewer than 84 points is 9.6 percent. Chelsea currently takes the title in just 5.8 percent of the simulations.

In the small chance that both City and Liverpool lose this week (SPI odds of 4.2 percent), Chelsea would become the favorite to win the title.

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