Chelsea and New England Revolution officials to attend March of the Living
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Whatever the outcome of a captivating Premier League title race, the losers will surely go down as the unluckiest runners-up ever.
It's unprecedented for any team to top 90 points and not become champions, but that's almost certain to happen this year. Indeed, Liverpool could get to 97 points and still not end their 29-year run without a league title.
Manchester United missed out on goal difference with 89 points in 2012 when Sergio Aguero scored his sensational last-gasp winner for Manchester City, but usually it takes far fewer points to clinch the crown. United's 81-point haul when they finished second under Jose Mourinho last season would have won five other Premier League races.
What does this prove? The top teams are becoming more and more dominant.
Since Leicester's astonishing 5,000-1 title triumph in 2016, the same teams will finish in the top six for three straight seasons. The gap between sixth and seventh places -- Manchester United to Leicester City -- is 17 points. Yes, Manchester City have lost to Crystal Palace, Leicester and Newcastle this season, and Wolves have caused a few upsets, but these are rarities.
We now have a Premier League where the bosses of the bottom 14 clubs know their fate will largely depend on the results in games between each other. Some might even play weakened teams against the top six, preferring to save their best for more winnable assignments -- a trend that can dilute the drama. In any case, the quality gap is too big.
- Premier League sprint to the finish: Title, top four, relegation latest
The danger is that games between the "big six" and "also-rans" can occasionally look like training exercises, with the smaller club simply looking to frustrate in the hope of nicking an unlikely point.
That said, the Premier League is in better shape than Italy's Serie A, where Juventus are about to collect an eighth successive title, or Germany, where Bayern Munich demolished Dortmund, their closest rivals, 5-0 and will likely be champions for a seventh successive season. Likewise, Paris Saint-Germain's immense wealth is blowing the opposition away in France since Monaco's vintage year with Kylian Mbappe and Bernardo Silva.
How soon before TV networks decide they do not want to pay top dollar when the outcome is so predictable every year?
All of those countries are crying out for a Leicester-esque tale of the unexpected to spice up the scene. At least Spain has Atletico Madrid to occasionally challenge the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga. Thank you, Diego Simeone.
England is better-placed with six clubs -- albeit the same six -- who can conceivably get involved. But in the meantime, we should enjoy this neck-and-neck battle between Liverpool and Manchester City. Both have been terrific. Both deserve to win it, but only one can.
Manchester City may have suffered disappointment in their race for a historic Quadruple, but they know that they will retain their Premier League crown if they win their last five games. But those fixtures include Spurs at home this week and an intense derby at Old Trafford next week. Liverpool have the easier-looking run-in, and it will be a surprise if they do not collect maximum points from those four games.
We should enjoy it while not losing sight of those other issues further down the league and around Europe. European football has to mind the gap.
Chelsea will continue their campaign against antisemitism by sending a delegation to participate in the annual March of the Living in Poland next month, along with Major League Soccer team New England Revolution.
The event on May 2 is expected to see as many as 100,000 people marching from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest World War II concentration camp complex, and Chelsea officials including director Eugene Tenenbaum, CEO Guy Laurence and former manager Avram Grant will be present.
It is the second year that Chelsea have participated and this time they will be joined by officials from New England Revolution, as the two clubs prepare to meet in a friendly in Foxborough, Massachusetts on May 15 entitled "The Final Whistle on Hate."
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and Revolution owner Robert Kraft will not attend the march, but both have pledged to donate $1 million (£767,000) to the fight against antisemitism around the world.
"Chelsea is honoured to participate in the March of the Living for the second year in a row," Tenenbaum said.
"We started this initiative to raise awareness of and tackle antisemitism in all its forms more than a year ago and sharing this experience of paying our respects to the millions of Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust with members of the New England Revolution goes a long way in spreading the message of unity and tolerance."
Abramovich, who obtained Israeli citizenship last year, personally launched Chelsea's "Say No To Antisemitism" campaign with a rare column in the club's matchday programme in January 2018.
Holocaust survivor Harry Spiro was invited to Cobham to address the Chelsea first-team squad that same month, and the club followed up their participation in last year's March of the Living with an official visit, consisting of 150 supporters and club officials, to Auschwitz concentration camp in June.
Chelsea's strong stance against antisemitism has at times brought them into conflict with a minority of their own supporters.
UEFA opened a disciplinary investigation into the club in December after fans were alleged to have used antisemitic language in a chant about rivals Tottenham during a Europa League group stage match against Vidi in Hungary, though no action was ultimately taken.
Metropolitan Police also arrested a 23-year-old man for allegedly using antisemitic language prior to Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Spurs in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal tie in January.