Comment: Eight rounds, 24 points in the game. The Premier League is coming down to the wire and the title fight offers an unusually even battle. After Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Liverpool, Arsenal have only a six-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who also have a game in hand.
What nobody probably thought about before the season, and what was more joked about in the autumn, is now very close. Arsenal are undoubtedly in the title race, but they are no longer the sole favourites, although it may seem so given their six-point lead.
A home game and a game to spare
The first reason is that the mutual battle will be played at the Etihad Stadium. Arsenal haven’t had a problem with away games this season, losing only ten points out of a possible 42.
Yet to succeed in front of Manchester City fans will be a much tougher task. Moreover, the Citizens have a game to play, as they played the FA Cup quarter-finals instead of the round of 28.
By the time of the mutual match with Arsenal (April 26), Manchester will even have two rounds less played, as the weekend before they play the Cup semi-final.
Still, simple maths shows that if Manchester can beat Arsenal and manage the playoffs with West Ham and Brighton, they will catch the Gunners on points. In that case, the scoreline will be decisive, with Manchester currently five shots better.
Even the lottery ticket is playing for Guardiola
As for the matches that both teams simply have to manage, for Manchester, out of nine games, it is clearly the confrontation with Leicester, Fulham, West Ham, Leeds and Everton. For Arsenal, West Ham, Southampton, Nottingham and Wolverhampton fall into this category from the eight rounds.
The Citizens play both Arsenal and Chelsea at home, and the duels with Brentford and Brighton could be erratic, especially as both will be on their opponents’ turf. Both teams are also battling for the elite seven that guarantee European Cups.
The Gunners, however, will have an even tougher time of it. Right after Manchester, they welcome Chelsea at home, then they travel to the pitch of upstart Newcastle and finish the tough series with a home game against Brighton. The Seagulls, it must be added, have been good to Arsenal for a long time.
Source: Premier League
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