DANNY MURPHY: Chelsea win confirms it's a three-horse race for title

DANNY MURPHY: It’s a three-horse race! Chelsea’s victory over Leeds proves they CAN compete with Liverpool and Man City… but I still have Guardiola’s men as favourites

  • Jorginho scored a 94th minute penalty to seal Chelsea the win over Leeds 
  • Liverpool and Man City also won, and there’s little to split the teams 
  • The Blues have struggled to nail down a midfield but are in the race
  • The fun will be in not knowing what will happen for this three-team race 

The most significant result on Saturday was Chelsea’s late win against Leeds.

We all expect Liverpool and Manchester City to contend for the title, so the big question has been whether Chelsea can stick with them.

To accumulate points and stay in the mix during a difficult time is a real mark of championship contenders, which makes me thinks we might have a genuine three-horse race this season.

Chelsea snuck to victory against Leeds on Saturday through Jorginho’s last-gasp penalty 

The Blues are in the title race with Manchester City, who remain slight favourites to win 

The advantage for Liverpool and City is they have been able to pick a settled midfield three, which is such an important area.

Liverpool have that blend of artistry and physicality with Thiago-Fabinho-Henderson, while Pep Guardiola has been using Bernardo-Rodri-Gundogan with Kevin De Bruyne first reserve. Not bad!

In contrast, Chelsea have suffered by missing N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, who are key to the way Thomas Tuchel plays. When those two return, the performances will improve — so to remain in the hunt to date is impressive.

We’ve rightly praised Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea for some incredible football this season but Saturday shows the best teams find different ways to win to be successful.

Mohamed Salah also scored a penalty to seal victory for Liverpool, as the rivals kept pace 

There was a neat symmetry in all of the Big Three winning narrowly, and by penalties too. It shows how close the competition is between them.

I’d still make City slight favourites, Liverpool next and Chelsea as outsiders. But in truth they are all so packed with quality, part of the fun over the coming months is not knowing what will happen. 

Chelsea face Liverpool on January 4 which already looks huge, and we don’t know if Mo Salah or Sadio Mane will have to miss the game because of African Cup of Nations call-ups.

Thomas Tuchel has impressed with his ability to manage a constantly rotating midfield 

I understand there will be debate about penalties with Chelsea getting two, City winning a controversial one and Liverpool getting one and not being penalised at the other end.

There is a feeling that big clubs get the close decisions but all I’d say is City, Liverpool and Chelsea play the right way — they try to attack and get the ball in and around the opposition penalty area. So it’s natural they are going to get the most penalties, whether they are nailed-on or more subjective.

Like buying lottery tickets, you can’t win a penalty without the ball being in the opposition penalty area.


Six penalties were scored yesterday, the most in a Premier League day for 10 years. Four of them handed big clubs controversial victories… 

Man City:  Wolves’ Joao Moutinho was judged to have handled the ball in the area. VAR seemed to suggest it his armpit, but Jon Moss stuck with his decision and Raheem Sterling made no mistake to hand City three points. 

Liverpool: Villa’s Tyrone Mings brought Mohamed Salah down in the box and the Egyptian picked himself up and scored from 12 yards to win the game for Liverpool. 

Chelsea: There were three penalties awarded at Stamford Bridge and the third saw Jorginho win it for Thomas Tuchel’s men with virtually the last kick of the game. 

Man United: Cristiano Ronaldo was brought down by Max Aarons in the six-yard box, it looked soft but the decision stood. The Portuguese made no mistake from the spot and United held on to win 1-0. 

21 – Jorginho scored twice from the spot for Chelsea. He has now scored 21 of his 24 spot-kicks for Chelsea (exc. shoot-outs). 

88 – Of all players with at least eight PL goals, Jorginho has scored the highest proportion from the penalty spot (88 per cent — 15/17). Here’s where he has put them in all competitions. 

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