When Manchester United last won the title, they did so courtesy of Robin van Persie. But looking back on his season, most of his goals came at the front end of the season. Many will remember his relief at scoring a penalty at Stoke, almost knocking down Sir Alex Ferguson with a joyful leap into him.
Jamie Vardy is undergoing something similar, if not as drastic. The goals have dried up of late, and without them Leicester look far less incisive. It is too early to draw certain conclusions, but it would not be a shock if Vardy - and some other players at Leicester - are now just knackered.
Van Persie ultimately won the league for United with a hat-trick against Aston Villa, and United dragged themselves over the line, but it is now clear Van Persie was suffering from playing an unusually high number of games over several seasons. Claudio Ranieri has given his Leicester side a recent break over the FA Cup week, if that does not give his side, and particularly Vardy, a lift, then they are in trouble.
The fact that Guus Hiddink has now lost only one of his 24 Premier League matches as a manager and that Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 matches, doesn’t disguise the fact that this was a lucky win. Diego Costa was a yard offside and Chelsea then sat back on their lead and gifted Norwich the ball. Chances came and went for the Canaries and if Cameron Jerome wasn’t in such awful form in front of goal, Chelsea wouldn’t have snuck this one.
Their football has dramatically improved since Mourinho left, but there's still a long way back to recapturing their peak form.
Southampton miss Victor Wanyama
Southampton's Victor Wanyama protests his sending off by referee Mark Clattenburg
Image credit: Reuters
For all of the experience and composure former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu brings to the Southampton midfield, they lack a leader in the centre of the field when Victor Wanyama is missing.
Wanyama is currently serving a five-match ban which has two more games to run, and Ronald Koeman will be desperate to welcome back the driving force of his midfield, whose absence has been a contributory factor in back-to-back defeats for Saints.
Villa on track to do a Leeds
Aston Villa's Joleon Lescott (R), Micah Richards (C) and Leandro Bacuna look dejected at the end of the match
Image credit: Reuters
Aston Villa are in utter freefall. Their unwillingness to invest during the January transfer window suggests that they have accepted their fate. However, they could very well be underestimating that fate. There is nothing to say that their fall from grace will end in the Championship. From the outside looking in, the innards of club appear rotten and if the complete lack of direction that has engulfed the club is not addressed, they could be on their way to League One football this time next season.
Vincent Kompany’s fitness decides who wins the league
Manchester City's Belgian defender Vincent Kompany applauds the fans after a 0-0 draw during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 25, 2015
Image credit: AFP
Manchester City are 10 points off the pace in the race for the league title. It sounds ominous. However, they have two games in hand and crucially it looks as though Vincent Kompany could be on the cusp of returning to proper full fitness.
City have the best squad and team in the league, but are an immeasurably more difficult team to beat with the Belgian marshalling their back four.
Keep Kompany fit until the end of the season and more likely than not they will be lifting the Premier League trophy aloft come May.
Alex Netherton, Fraser Masefield, Michael da Silva, Marcus Foley