17/12/2014 12:38 GMT | Updated 16/02/2015 05:59 GMT

Five Reasons Why the Premier League Is Not Yet a Two-Horse Race

Prior to the beginning of this Premier League season - before even a football was kicked - the title race had been spoken about as a two-horse race. Yet, here we sit in the middle of the Christmas period and realistically there is still everything to play for.

Granted, Chelsea and City are currently out in front by a large distance and are understandably favourites to take the crown, though contrary to popular belief, this year's Premier League is not yet just a duel between the two teams in blue.

Here are five reasons why.

5. Over-Reliance on Key Players

​Despite the fact that both City and Chelsea boast squads bursting with talent worth hundreds of millions of pounds, like any other team they are still susceptible if one or two key players get injured.

Imagine a Chelsea side without Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic or a City side lacking Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany.

In both cases you could argue that each side relies perhaps too heavily on certain individuals and if they sustain injuries the wheels could come off the wagon very quickly indeed.

4. The Curious Case of Manchester United

Louis van Gaal's Manchester United are widely said to be performing badly - or if not badly, then at least not as well as they should be - yet they are only five points behind Chelsea.

The Dutchman's side are edging closer to the top after a six-game winning streak and both Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini will be wary that dropping points means that the Red Devils gain even more ground.

Eight points between first and third is not as big a gap as many think it is, especially with just 16 games having been played so far this campaign.

It takes just one or two defeats for the pressure to be dropped upon the shoulders of either Chelsea or City and don't forget both have to play United again later in the season.

3. Emergence of New Upper-Table Challengers

The emergence of Southampton and West Ham as genuine contenders for a top four this season has largely been attributed to the fact that sides like Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have fallen away.

This is somewhat insulting to the Hammers and Saints alike and their ability to take points from the top sides this season may prove vital come the end of May.

Although neither are likely to challenge for the Premier League themselves, their emergence as upper-table powers could be key if they take a couple of scalps towards the end of the season.

2. Champions League Fatigue

Come the end of the season, the impact of playing in multiple competitions - and particularly those involving flights around Europe - will become more and more pronounced.

It remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini will place their main focus upon the European Cup or the Premier League, but either way the sapping affect that travelling around the continent to play in Europe's premier competition has on a side will unquestionably play a part in this year's title hunt.

Manchester United are blessed in a way this season and they can focus solely upon the Premier League without the distraction of European competition and this should ultimately benefit them in every way but financially.

1. History Tells Us it's Not Over Yet

​In 2002/3, Manchester United were eight points behind Arsenal in March... and won the title.

Newcastle held a 12 point lead over Manchester United in 1995/6... and lost the title.

Manchester United held an eight point lead over rivals Manchester City in 2011/12... and City won the title.

It well and truly is not over yet, no matter what you might think.

The lead that Chelsea and City have is far from unassailable and hopefully there will be one or two more surprises in store before this year's Premier League champions are crowned.

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