West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has backed Manchester City to win the title ahead of Arsenal and Leicester City. However, the Hammers manager has warned that his prediction may fall through if the Citizens fail to rectify their form away from home.
It has been a topsy-turvy season at the top for all clubs looking to challenge for the title, with neither pressing the initiative and always giving the clubs below them an opportunity to come back into the mix. City held the top spot for a majority of the opening half of the campaign but relinquished the same to Arsenal before the turn of the year, who have held the spot since.
The Gunners had a three point lead over City following their 0-0 draw with Everton but the Gunners failed to extend the lead further by succumbing to draws against Liverpool and Stoke City in consecutive games. Leicester also scuppered their chance to go to the top, drawing against bottom side Aston Villa to stay second on goal difference.
City's win over Crystal Palace last weekend has brought the gap down to a solitary point and a win over the Hammers this weekend will allow the 2013/14 champions to open up a two point lead at the top, with the Gunners set to take on Chelsea at the Emirates the following day.
"Basically it appears now that it's a three-way race between our opponents tomorrow, plus Arsenal and Leicester City. Okay, mathematically Spurs can still do it — we can even do it — but realistically it's between those three clubs," Bilic said in his column with Standard Sport.
"Right now, I would go for City to win the title. There are some doubts, though. Away from home they have not always been that impressive. They win some of those games with something to spare but in between there are draws, even defeats. The same goes for Arsenal. Just when you think they will open up a gap at the top, they also draw or lose a game. To be fair, the most consistent team is Leicester.
"On the negative side for City, Vincent Kompany has been a huge miss for them. He's a great defender but he's more than that. Okay, they have other good players in that central position who have cost a lot of money but Kompany is a symbol for City and sorely missed by them, and football in general, because you always want to see the best players.
"There is also an opinion that it is difficult for Manuel Pellegrini and his players because the speculation is that Pep Guardiola will take over as their manager in the summer," he added.