And then there were three.
Three managers, three clubs and three more games to keep the Premier League title race alive and kicking – beyond early March.
Only two weeks ago, it was six. Until runaway leaders Manchester City slashed the group of contender-turned pretenders in half – swatting away Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton with the minimum of fuss.
One by one, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti failed, miserably in the case of the first two, to check or, at very least, trouble Pep Guardiola's Quadruple-chasers.
So, now it's down to Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, David Moyes and West Ham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United to make a decent fist of the scrap at the summit.
As it stands, it’s a ten-point lead for City, amid a glorious 12-game winning blitz stretching back to November, in what we love to deem the most-competitive, impossible-to-call, everyone-can-beat-anyone league on the football planet.
Unless, of course, some of the finest coaching minds operating on English shores – and their teams collapse – at the merest sight of Pep's troops.
Nobody is saying Klopp, Mourinho and Ancelotti threw in the towel and simply allowed City (minus Kevin De Bruyne until 15 minutes from the end of Wednesday’s 3-1 victory at Everton) to waltz their way to maximum points.
But it sure felt like it to the many millions stuck at home in these COVID times, craving an interesting – gripping is probably out of the question now – finale to the 2020-21 battle to rule the English game supreme.
That’s the battle which, only a few weeks ago, lest we forget, was shaping up to be one of the greatest of all.
Teams leading one night being toppled off the top the next. We've had nines different names sitting in pole position.
It's been crazy, unpredictable, beautiful stuff and, above all, has provided genuine sporting drama for the worldwide armchair audience.
So are the thrills and spills all gone? Is the Premier League really a foregone, one-horse romp before spring – for the second year running?
Well, those praying otherwise should not abandon hope quite yet. It's okay to dream still.
For if the stars aligned for City – with Liverpool, Spurs and Everton all in such poor form – this does not appear the case with their next trio of opponents.
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Arsenal enjoyed a superb win last weekend over Leeds and Arteta masterminded a victory over his one-time mentor Guardiola in last season’s FA Cup semi-final.
Another shock on Sunday at the Emirates is not beyond the realms, surely?
Then come Moyes’ rampant Hammers, briefly up to fourth place last week, and, if they can take out Spurs on Sunday, will be on a serious roll by the time they head to the Etihad.
And let's say, City did drop points in those two games. They may suddenly have a few seeds of doubts sewn into the minds.
Not the best time, then, to be hosting local neighbours United on Sunday, March 6.
It may sound far-fetched. However, keep the faith. Don't give up. Not like Jurgen and co.
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