After Monday night’s result, Chelsea moved level on points with Man City and now just two points behind Arsenal. It looks to be a three-way battle at the top but with this season being as unpredictable as ever, you cannot write off the likes of Liverpool and Spurs, who have an outside chance if they perform well until the end of the season. There are crucial fixtures coming up for the top three and whoever comes out on top in those matches will see themselves as favourites to grab the coveted title. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for Arsenal, Chelsea, and Man City in the coming months.
The Gunners arguably have the toughest run in of the three teams and will make or break their season depending on how results pan out.
Next Saturday will see Arsenal start a run of four extremely difficult games in just 11 days, starting with a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool. Arsenal haven’t lost at Anfield in 7 years and also beat Liverpool 2-0 earlier in the season at The Emirates. This is followed by a home fixture against bitter rivals Man Utd four days later. Arsenal have only won one in the last ten Premier League fixtures against United and will hope to gain revenge for the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford courtesy of a Van Persie header. The weekend after sees Arsenal play Liverpool again but this time in the FA Cup. Three days later sees a crucial fixture against the German and European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Although it seems a daunting task, Arsenal did beat Bayern Munich away from home last season but it was too late by then. so a good result at home will give The Gunners much more confidence.
If Feburary looked tough then March is equally as difficult with another four fixtures against top class opposition consecutively. First up is the away leg at Bayern Munich with Arsenal hoping to pull off an upset which would really show the progress Arsene Wenger’s team has made this season. After that, Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane in what will be a very hostile North London Derby with Wilshere, Ozil and co having already beaten Spurs twice this season. Two massive top of the table clashes follow; Arsenal firstly travelling to Stamford Bridge hoping to be the first team to beat Mourinho’s Chelsea on their home turf. The weekend after sees Man City visit the Emirates, which again will have a huge affect on the title race and Arsenal will count on home advantage to help them to a positive result.
The last team Arsenal will face from the current top 7 teams is Everton at Goodison Park on the 15th April. The Toffees have an excellent record at home and will be another big test for the North Londoners.
If Arsenal come out of these fixtures in a good position, it will put them in a situation where they could be fighting for multiple trophies. However, we have seen Arsenal capitulate many a time in the same position over the years. Can these players show the grit and determination to fight on all fronts or will it be same old story?
After suffering their first home defeat of the season against Chelsea on Monday night, Man City will hope put that result in the past and concentrate on the big games coming up in the Carling Cup, Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League.
They have an early chance to gain retribution against Chelsea with same fixture being played next week in the FA Cup. Chelsea have beaten City twice already this season and it will be interesting to see whether either team decides to rest players with the Champions League in mind. City welcome the mighty Barcelona in a mouth-watering tie three days later with the chance to make home advantage count ahead of the away leg.
March sees Man City involved in the Carling Cup final against Sunderland, hoping to land their first piece of silverware of the season. City then travel to Barcelona in the second leg aiming to make the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time. They then make a trip to Old Trafford in the rearranged Manchester Derby with Man United facing a battle to reach those Champions League places. Four days later, City travel to The Emirates in a title clash which will give whoever wins momentum and belief going into the other crucial matches. City beat Arsenal 6-3 earlier in the campaign and will hope to repeat that performance away from home.
City then have to play the two Merseyside clubs away from home. April 12th sees City face Liverpool at Anfield where they haven’t won in the league since 2003. City narrowly beat Liverpool 2-1 on Boxing Day thanks to goals from Negredo and Kompany. They then travel to the blue half of Merseyside to face Everton at Goodison Park on the 3rd of May in a match which could have a huge bearing on the title race as well as the race for a top four place.
Man City have a chance at the quadruple this season but Pellegrini will keep his players grounded to keep their focus on one game at a time. The Premier League and the Champions League will be the priority but with so many games still to play, can City cope with pressure?
Chelsea, buoyed by the win at The Etihad on Monday, seem to have the easier fixture list out of the three teams. Having already faced City and United twice, they only have to play four of the top seven teams in the league.
First up is a repeat of the Monday night fixture but this time in the FA Cup with Chelsea again travelling to City in what will be another tight affair. Late February sees Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge and then travel away to Galatasaray four days later in the Champions League, which will reunite the Blues with former hero Didier Drogba.
March sees the other two London clubs in the top seven travel to the Bridge with the CL tie sandwiched in between in what will be a defining week for Chelsea. Spurs are scheduled to arrive on the 15th of March with the home leg against Galatasaray three days later. Chelsea then face Arsenal in a match which could sway the title race one way or the other with both teams aiming for the same prize.
Mourinho’s men then face Liverpool in a tough away fixture with plenty on the line for both teams. The Blues did beat Liverpool in a tight match in December with goals from Hazard and Eto’o giving them a 2-1 win against The Reds.
Chelsea are slowly building momentum and have a great record against the big teams so far this season. Can they continue in the same manner and win the title even though Mourinho played down their chances?
The Race is on!
With the Premier League being as unpredictable as ever, even games against teams in the bottom half of the table are no easy fixtures. These games will have a great impact on the title race as well as the head to head games. With Champions League and FA Cup commitments to be taken into account, the fixture list may increase for all three teams and whether the squads can cope with game after game remains to be seen. With the race for the title, fourth place and avoiding relegation all heating up, get ready for a pulsating end to the campaign.