Home Football English Football The Run-In: Analysing The Title Contenders’ Remaining Fixtures

The Run-In: Analysing The Title Contenders’ Remaining Fixtures

On Wednesday evening, Manchester City returned to the top of the table for the first time since December following a victory over Everton at Goodison Park.

Guardiola’s side overtook rivals Liverpool on goal difference, although the Reds still have a game in hand over their Manchester counterparts.

The victory also took City five points clear of third place Tottenham who have managed to win their last three league games on the spin in the absence of Harry Kane.

After the most recent round of fixtures the Premier League’s top currently looks like this;

 

With 13 games to go (12 in City’s case) the top three is finely poised. The winner of this year’s Premier League title could come down to who has the better run of fixtures to close out the season.

With that in mind let’s take a look at who each team still has to face, which games could be potential banana skins, and where the league can be won and lost.

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Manchester City 

Remaining Fixtures

vs Chelsea (H)

vs West Ham (H)

vs Bournemouth (A)

vs Watford (H)

vs Manchester United (A)

vs Fulham (A)

vs Cardiff (H)

vs Crystal Palace (A)

vs Spurs (H)

vs Burnley (A)

vs Leicester (H)

vs Brighton (A)

The Big Games

The old adage of “every game is a cup final” in a Premier League run-in certainly rings true for each of the three teams but in City’s remaining fixtures there are a number of standout games.

Chelsea may be wildly inconsistent this season, but they were the first team to defeat the champions at the start of the campaign and will no question pose a threat when they visit the Etihad this Sunday.

The Manchester derby on March 16th could end up being one of the most significant in years, with City gunning for the title and Solskjaer’s United within touching distance of the top four.

At Old Trafford, in the Norwegian’s first clash with City as Red Devils boss, United won’t need to think twice about taking points off of their city rivals.

Finally, the game with Spurs at the Etihad in April will be City’s fourth last game of the season and could be hugely significant in the title race and the top four stakes.

 

Potential Banana Skins

Bournemouth away could represent a tricky task but Eddie Howe’s men are generally open and expansive, the type of opponent City will relish playing.

The one standout potential slip up comes in the form of Burnley away in the third last game of the season. Dyche’s men currently sit 17th and could still be fighting for their Premier League lives when April 27th comes around.

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Liverpool

Remaining Fixtures

vs Bournemouth (H)

vs Manchester United (A)

vs Watford (H)

vs Everton (A)

vs Burnley (H)

vs Fulham (A)

vs Spurs (H)

vs Southampton (A)

vs Chelsea (H)

vs Cardiff (A)

vs Huddersfield (H)

vs Newcastle (A)

vs Wolves (H)

The Big Games

With one game more to play than City, Liverpool more than likely have a bigger chance of slipping up and their run-in certainly echoes that.

Like their rivals, Liverpool must go to Old Trafford and attempt to take points off a frighteningly in-form Manchester United side at the end of February before a massive game with Spurs on their own patch just over a month later.

There’s also a Merseyside derby at Goodison to contend with, despite Everton‘s inconsistencies this campaign

Chelsea visit Anfield two weeks after the Spurs game in what could be a hugely significant fortnight in the title race

 

Potential Banana Skins

Draws in their last two games against Leicester and West Ham have already proven that any game could be a banana skin for Liverpool, but their form against teams outside the top side had previously been excellent.

Southampton and Cardiff away in crucial periods of the season with both sides fighting for survival will represent two very difficult tests for Klopp’s side.

Wolves on the final day of the season is far from a game to look forward to, especially if the title race goes down to the wire.

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Tottenham

Remaining Fixtures

vs Leicester (H)

vs Burnley (A)

vs Chelsea (A)

vs Arsenal (H)

vs Southampton (A)

vs Crystal Palace (H)

vs Liverpool (A)

vs Brighton (H)

vs Huddersfield (H)

vs Man City (A)

vs West Ham (H)

vs Bournemouth (A)

vs Everton (H)

The Big Games

Already the underdogs in the title race, Spurs, who will be without Harry Kane and Dele Alli for a large chunk of the remaining games, have been done no favours by their run-in.

Chelsea at home and Arsenal away in back to back games is an incredibly tough task, while they must also face their rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, both away from home.

 

Potential Banana Skins

In general, Spurs have more big games to go in the run-in than potential banana skins but it’s hard to imagine they’ll look forward to a trip to relegation-threatened Burnley and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton.

After the City game, provided they are still in contention, their last three games are quite nice although West Ham could provide an opportunity to slip up as they did for Liverpool.

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The Verdict

Spurs have unquestionably the toughest run-in and with relying on City and Liverpool to drop points they should fall away from the top two.

Liverpool‘s run-in is a little easier but the potential to slip up is there in a number of their remaining fixtures.

Manchester City look to have the edge when it comes to the easiest run-in of the three, but time will tell whether or not they can translate favourable games on paper, to another Premier League title.

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About Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com