It is looking for all the world that the title this season will go down to the wire. Most betting sites offering specials are concentrating on a two horse race, and though Manchester United have edged into the picture of late, the winners are almost certainly going to be either City or Arsenal. So, if it does come down to the last six games, who – on paper at least – has the easiest run-in of the two?
Any Gunner would have bitten your hand off last Summer if you had offered him or her the chance to even be in the conversation of the title race. After the first half of the season, however, there is the whiff of expectancy around the Emirates. The biggest question marks are over the squad strength, especially as we get into the business end of the season. The Europa League will add to the toll, and though many players are being linked with a move to North London, there is no question that a couple of key injuries could derail their challenge.
Manchester City (A): There is no way of looking at this game other than as a title decider, though there will still be five games to go after the final whistle has gone at the Etihad. After Guardiola’s men brushed aside Arsenal in their own back yard, many predicted the writing was on the wall for Arsenal’s title challenge. That wasn’t the case, however. A win for either side is likely to put them in the box seat, and home advantage could play a huge part.
Chelsea (H): This fixture does not posses the threat of previous years, but Chelsea may have managed to get themselves into some semblance of form by then.
Newcastle (A): A trip to a rejuvenated Newcastle completes a trio of very tricky ties for Arteta. Newcastle will be fighting for a Champions League place, and very few teams have left St James’ with points this season.
Brighton (H): Just like the match against Chelsea is not what it would have been in years gone by, the same can be said for that of Brighton, albeit for the exact opposite reason. Graham Potter’s departure has not heralded the start of the South Coast side’s decline as many predicted. If anything they have been even better under Roberto De Zerbi.
Nottingham Forest (A): Forest have been one of a number of clubs who have surprised many so called experts and, though they may not be completely free from relegation fears when they play Arsenal, they should just have enough to avoid the drop. The City Ground has been a fortress for Steve Cooper.
Wolves (H): Wolves are likely to be in a relegation scrap right to the end, so this will be far from a straightforward game for Arsenal. That said, they are where they are for a reason, and Arsenal had a relatively easy 2 – 0 win at Molineux in November.
What City have going in their favour is that they have already been there and done it. For many of the side, they have been there and done it multiple times. That can play a huge role when it comes down to the final few games.
Arsenal (H): City fans know that a win here, meaning they will have completed the double over their title rivals, will be crucial in the final points tally.
Fulham (A): One of the favourites to go down before a ball was even kicked this season, Fulham have been one of the surprise packages. A trip to Craven cottage is no longer seen as the guaranteed three points it once was by the big teams.
Leeds (H): Leeds will be in a dog fight for their Premier League survival.
Everton (A): The same goes for Everton, who will be desperate to better whatever their relegation rivals managed the week before.
Chelsea (H): A game that many would have thought would be between two title contenders, the season has not worked out like that. Chelsea have not looked anything other than a midtable side, but they do have the players to give anyone a bloody nose.
Brentford (A): City end their season with a game against the team who beat them on their own turf in November. Three points, or even one, is far from guaranteed.