Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, a proven league winner in all four countries he has managed in, has developed a mental edge when it comes to the business end of the season. In boxing parlance, when a fight enters the 11th and 12th stanzas, they become known as the championship rounds - a period where Mourinho thrives, delivers psychological jabs but, of course, denies it is part of a grand mind game tactic.
Is it all instead a feint? 'When I say we're not the top candidate everyone thinks 'here he is again, with what you like to call the mind games' but it's just my feeling,' he is quoted to have said by Sky Sports News.
Chelsea and Arsenal are campaigning on three fronts as, together with their Premier League ambitions, they remain in the FA Cup and Champions League competitions. Manchester City, meanwhile, also have the League Cup to participate in.
Liverpool's lack of distractions in other tournaments… they are obviously not competing in Europe, were knocked out of the League Cup and have a fifth round examination against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, puts them in good stead as, according to Mourinho, it may well allow them to focus more on the league.
'The league is amazing for everyone, there are obviously teams with more potential than others, as Liverpool have a big advantage as they do not play in the Champions League,' he said, potentially nominating a new favourite for this season's crown.
'Playing in this is going to take concentration and energy from the teams that are involved in it, so I think it will be good fun. All teams need points for their objectives - some for relegation, some for the Champions League, so the fight for points will be harder.'
Chelsea currently top the division with 57 points collected after 26 games. Arsenal are second as they are only a point behind Chelsea, while City are three points adrift but have a game in hand. Liverpool, meanwhile, are fourth, with 53 points.
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