·22 March 2023
·22 March 2023
With between 10-13 Premier League games left for every team this season, the final run-in will likely provide plenty of twists and turns.
All is still to play for as Arsenal and Manchester City battle it out to be crowned champions, while a cluster of five or six teams are fighting for the other two places in the top four.
Here is our prediction for how the top four will look at the end of the season:
Any talk of Manchester United being involved in the title race has vanished as the Red Devils are now 19 points off league leaders Arsenal, albeit with two games in hand.
United were humiliated by rivals Liverpool in an embarrassing 7-0 loss earlier this month. They followed that up with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to bottom-of-the-table Southampton, a game which saw Casemiro receive a red card and a subsequent four-match ban.
Erik ten Hag’s side are now just three points above fifth-placed Newcastle United and their place in the top four is far from certain.
United are also still in the Europa League and FA Cup and must navigate through a demanding fixture schedule which could dent their league results.
However, the Red Devils should get over the line. Tottenham Hotspur appear to be in free fall following Antonio Conte’s extraordinary press conference at the weekend.
Liverpool are eight points behind United with a difficult run-in ahead of them and unlikely to break into the top four.
Brighton & Hove Albion are also in the picture, but lack the necessary experience to battle for a European spot at this stage.
Newcastle are having a superb season under Eddie Howe’s tutelage and have exceeded many people’s expectations this term.
The Magpies are in fifth place, just two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with two games in hand on the north Londoners.
The key to their success this season has predominantly been their rock-solid defence. They have conceded just 19 goals in their 26 games this season, the best record in the league.
They have conceded six fewer goals than City who have the second-best defensive record with 25 goals against.
Alexander Isak’s return from injury earlier this month has been a huge boost to the Magpies, with the Swedish striker bagging three goals in three games since coming back into the fold.
The 23-year-old could have a vital role to play in Newcastle’s run-in.
Howe’s side are out of the FA Cup and not involved in any European competitions, meaning they can solely focus on their top four charge.
On that basis, Newcastle will land themselves a place in the top four and may even pip Man United to third place.
Man City are the league’s highest scorers this season with 67 goals, largely due to the staggering output of summer signing Erling Braut Haaland.
The Norwegian striker has netted 28 league goals and is six away from equalling Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s record of most goals scored in a Premier League season (34) with 11 games still to play.
Despite this, Pep Guardiola’s side are eight points behind Arsenal and must complete a double over the Gunners by beating them at the Etihad Stadium on April 26 to stand any chance of winning the title.
City are also in the FA Cup and Champions League, which could have a knock-on effect on their bid to win the Premier League.
They are guaranteed to play at least 14 more games in all competitions this season whereas Arsenal only have to play 10.
The fact that Guardiola is yet to win a Champions League during his tenure at City could also play into the dynamics of the run-in.
It is the one trophy that has eluded the Spaniard during his time in English football and he could choose to prioritise that competition the closer we get to the business end of the season.
The points gap that currently exists between the two sides as well as City’s less favourable schedule means they will fall just short of winning the league title this time around.
After their title credentials were severely tested last month following their 3-1 defeat to Man City, Arsenal have bounced back in style by putting together a run of six wins on the bounce.
The Gunners are eight points clear of City heading into the international break, albeit having played an extra game, and are the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the title in May.
Having being knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting CP last week, Mikel Arteta’s side can now fully concentrate on their title charge.
Arsenal have also been boosted by the recent return from injury of summer signing Gabriel Jes,us who could be key in their final ten games.
The cushion they have built between themselves and City, their schedule being less taxing than City’s and the return of Jesus will see Arsenal lift their first Premier League title since 2004.
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