With the Premier League title race arguably the closest we’ve seen for years, Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea are down to just fourteen games to show that they are worthy of winning the Premier League trophy.
Who will reign supreme?
Arsenal: 1st, 55 points
|Feb 12||Arsenal||v||Manchester United|
|Mar 1||Stoke City||v||Arsenal|
|Mar 8||Arsenal||v||Swansea City|
|Mar 16||Tottenham Hotspur||v||Arsenal|
|Mar 29||Arsenal||v||Manchester City|
|Apr 12||Arsenal||v||West Ham United|
|Apr 19||Hull City||v||Arsenal|
|Apr 26||Arsenal||v||Newcastle United|
|May 3||Arsenal||v||West Bromwich Albion|
|May 11||Norwich City||v||Arsenal|
The Gunners are sitting pretty on top of the pack as we head into the business end of the season, but have a host of tricky ties to come.
Keeper Wojciech Szczesny has claimed that the Gunners are ‘looking forward’ to the difficult games ahead, but I doubt the same can be said of the Arsenal faithful!
Arsenal face Liverpool at Anfield this weekend, with a home tie against Manchester United straight after for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Still involved in both the FA Cup and the Champions League, their squad will be pushed to the limits, with the lack of depth up front continuing to be of real concern to Gunners fans.
Arguably the most important run of games this season for Arsenal will come in March, with the club travelling to Tottenham and Chelsea consecutively, and finishing up with a home tie against Manchester City.
The sight of an away fixture against Everton at the start of April will only add to the sense of insecurity currently hanging over the club, and if Arsenal are to break their decade-long irrelevance in the Premier League, they will have to prove it by negotiating an ominous fixture list.
Manchester City: 2nd, 53 points
|Feb 8||Norwich City||v||Manchester City|
|Feb 12||Manchester City||v||Sunderland|
|Feb 22||Manchester City||v||Stoke City|
|Mar 8||Manchester City||v||Aston Villa|
|Mar 15||Hull City||v||Manchester City|
|Mar 22||Manchester City||v||Fulham|
|Mar 25||Manchester United||v||Manchester City|
|Mar 29||Arsenal||v||Manchester City|
|Apr 5||Manchester City||v||Southampton|
|Apr 12||Liverpool||v||Manchester City|
|Apr 19||Manchester City||v||West Bromwich Albion|
|Apr 26||Crystal Palace||v||Manchester City|
|May 3||Everton||v||Manchester City|
|May 11||Manchester City||v||West Ham United|
City will be reeling from yesterday’s 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea, but will be pleased by their remaining fixture list, with only a handful of big teams yet to play.
Another side to be still involved in both the FA Cup and the Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini’s side certainly have the squad to deal with a congested season, and with their first real test coming mid-March against Manchester United at Old Trafford, City will have hoped to even have attained top spot by then.
An away game at Arsenal immediately after will be a huge game for both sides, with a trip to Liverpool in April the last top-four test for the club.
Everton host will host City in the penultimate game of the season, but considering the host of ‘winnable’ games left on the list, Pellegrini will surely fancy his chances of overhauling Arsenal at the top of the League.
Chelsea: 3rd, 53 points
|Feb 8||Chelsea||v||Newcastle United|
|Feb 11||West Bromwich Albion||v||Chelsea|
|Mar 8||Chelsea||v||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Mar 15||Aston Villa||v||Chelsea|
|Mar 29||Crystal Palace||v||Chelsea|
|Apr 5||Chelsea||v||Stoke City|
|Apr 12||Swansea City||v||Chelsea|
|May 3||Chelsea||v||Norwich City|
|May 11||Cardiff City||v||Chelsea|
Everton are up first at Stamford Bridge mid-February, then the Blues will host London rivals Tottenham a month later.
Arsenal will travel to West London late March, and the Blues have to negotiate a tricky away tie at Liverpool in the third-final game of the season.
Chelsea may have been described as a ‘little horse’ by the wonderfully descriptive Mourinho, but their course is certainly a favourable one.
Soccerlens Verdict: Manchester City to be Champions!
It’s a tight one, and we were tempted to go for Chelsea, but considering Manchester City’s decent run of games, their fantastic goal-difference, and their squad depth, we have to plump for Pellegrini’s men for the title.
Arsenal have a tremendously difficult run of games ahead, and it will take a monumental effort from them to keep ahead of the chasing duo.
Chelsea arguably have the best run-in, but their tendency to allow smaller sides back into matches may continue to haunt Mourinho and his boys.
The smart money must be on Manchester City, but such is the sheer unpredictability of this Premier League season, you can never be sure!
What do you think? Who has the best run-in? Who will win the Premier League? Let me know in the comments below…