With the Premier League coming in to the last third of the season I take a look at nine fixtures that I think will define where the Premier League title will end up come May.
As it stands there are four teams in the hunt for the title. The battle between Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City in the title race continues to intrigue and entertain in equal measure.
Last weekend was a fantastic weekend for Spurs and Leicester City who came through what turned into tough encounters against Swansea and Norwich with all three points.. The manner of the wins smacked of ‘title winning credentials’ especially for Leicester City who scored the winner in the eighty ninth minute. Nine points cover the top four teams with 11 rounds of fixtures remaining. So which games between now and the final day of the season look likely to be the most pivotal?
March 2: Liverpool vs Manchester City
Manchester City face Liverpool tomorrow night for the second time in four days. A win against the Merseysiders is a must for City if they are to haul themselves back into the title reckoning. A defeat to Liverpool would all but end the slim hope they have of winning the title in Manuel Pelligrini’s final season in charge.
March 5: Tottenham vs Arsenal
This is a huge North London derby, the biggest in many years. The only winners of this contest could be one of Leicester or Manchester City. Arsenal can boast a healthy record at White Hart Lane in recent times, winning on two of their last three visits.
April 2: Liverpool vs Tottenham
Spurs might need a win at Anfield to keep their title challenge on track. The only problem for Spurs us the fact that they’ve only won once at Anfield in the league since 1993 might be a concern.
April 9: West Ham vs Arsenal
This is another tricky London derby for Arsenal. Slaven Bilic’s West Ham side are currently in a rich vein of form and the Hammers also have ambitions of their own with a European place well and truly in their grasp.
April 10: Tottenham vs Manchester United
This is another tricky tie for Tottenham, as the North Londoners tend to struggle against Manchester United but if they want to win a first title since 1960/1961 they may need to go all out and get three points against the Red Devils.
April 10: Sunderland vs Leicester
If you look at the fixture list between now and the end of the season it is Leicester that have the easiest run-in among the four title contenders. While they may not be playing the league’s top teams, they face a lot of sides that will want to park the bus against Claudio Ranieri’s men and look to frustrate them. Against Sunderland, Leicester face a side battling for survival and Sam Allardyce will have his team set up to defend and attack on the break.
May 1: Manchester United vs Leicester
Leicester travel to Old Trafford in what could prove to be a massive gane for both sides. Manchester United could still be in with a shout of Champions League football and this could prove to be a big gane for both sides.
May 2: Chelsea vs Tottenham
This could be the game that makes or breaks Tottenham’s title chances. Chelsea showed in the 2013/2014 season against Liverpool that they’re prepared to shatter dreams. Chelsea are steadily improving under Guus Hiddink and a visit to Stamford Bridge this late on in the campaign is arguably a game Tottenham and manager Mauricio Pochettino would have wanted to be making.
May 7/8 weekend: Manchester City vs Arsenal
This could prove to be a masive game or a non starter. By the time these two teams meet the destination of the league title could already be decided. If not both Tottenham and Leicester will be thanking the fixture gods that the fixture list put these two together so late on.
May 15: Last day of the season…
Newcastle vs Tottenham
Arsenal vs Aston Villa
Chelsea vs Leicester
Swansea vs Manchester City
Like the 2013/2014 season one of these games could decide the title. Anyone of Newcastle, Aston Villa and Swansea can pull off a surprise result on the day. Chelsea on the other hand may be fighting for a European place and a win against Leicester could be the win that gets them in to a Europa League spot.