Featured, Football, Premier League

Is this the closest 3-way Premier League title race?

Following their 3-1 victory over Brentford on Monday night, Manchester City is now leading the Premier League, and many commentators are anticipating Pep Guardiola’s team to eventually break away from their rivals.

However, a three-horse Premier League title race as close as this one would be hard to discover in the distant past.

At the top of the table, Liverpool, City, and Arsenal are separated by just two points; following Matchweek 23, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are also extremely close.

The difference between the top five is currently seven points, but it could have been eight if Man City’s home game against Brentford hadn’t been rescheduled to make room for the hosts’ FIFA Club World Cup schedule.

Still, the Premier League has never felt so tight and fiercely competitive at the top.

Here’s a comparison of the 2023–24 season with previous campaigns, as well as an overview of how, when, and when the Premier League title match will be determined this year.

Every one of the top three appears to be depending heavily on the next six rounds.

Two points have separated the top three at least 23 games into a season only nine times in prior Premier League campaigns, and only five times since the turn of the century.

How the 2001–02 title race played out

Following Matchweek 35 in 2001–02, Arsenal led the league, followed by Manchester United by two points and Liverpool by one point.

But at that point, Arsenal still had a match to play, and Arsene Wenger’s team did win the championship by a clean seven points.

How the 2008–09 title fight played out

With one game remaining, Manchester United led the other two teams by two points, but after Matchweek 23, the top three teams in 2008–09 were separated by just two points.

Chelsea finished third while Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool came in second, although they ultimately prevailed by a margin of four points.

What happened in the 2009–10 title race

With seven games remaining in the 2009–10 season, Man United, Chelsea, and Arsenal were separated by just two points.

This time, Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea defeated United to win the title by a single point, while Arsenal fell like a stone.

How the 2013–14 title fight played out

Even more tightly contested was the 2013–14 season, with Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea separated by just two points following Matchweek 37. However, Brendan Rodgers’ team had already conceded the lead due to their upcoming match.

How the 2015-16 title race transpired

The last time there has been a difference as little as this one was in 2015–16, when Leicester City led the standings after 26 games, but only by two points above Arsenal in third.

Amazingly, Claudio Ranieri’s squad won by a margin of 10 points.

History shows us that it is extremely rare for all three teams to be in the race until May when they are as closely grouped as they are in 2023–2024.

Actually, the only season where the difference at the end of the game was less than seven points is 2013–14.

Man City’s difficult March finale might stall the momentum

Man City is now the clear favourite to win the championship after five straight Premier League victories, in part because they were in a similar situation the year before.

They actually had one more point (49) after 22 games than they did at this point in 2022–2023 before going on to win 14 and draw one of their following 15 games to win the league with just two games to spare.

Even while the return of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne is encouraging for the Cityzens, there is no assurance they will go on a similar run.

As many teams did against the champions in 2023–24, Brentford created multiple excellent counterattack opportunities, and City has only managed one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League games.

AFC Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Everton can all mount a potent counterattack against Man City’s formidable defence if they play their games until the international break.

While Everton lost 3-1 and Bournemouth 6-1 in their respective matches, Man City and Chelsea tied 4-4 at Stamford Bridge in November, making an end-to-end contest likely. This month will require more cunning from Sean Dyche and Andoni Iraola.

In addition to the fact that Man City will be visiting Anfield on March 10 before playing Arsenal following the international break, there is undoubtedly some danger involved.

It is obvious that Man City needs those head-to-heads. It’s about this time that they have emerged victorious in previous years.

Arsenal and Liverpool, though, have a chance to stop City’s momentum this time.

Liverpool must triumph against the “Big Six”

Liverpool has only lost four games this season against teams outside of the conventional “Big Six,” drawing 2-2 at Brighton & Hove Albion in October and 1-1 at Luton Town in November. However, they have only triumphed once in seven meetings against the “Big Six” (D5 L1).

Jurgen Klopp has to deal with it right away since Liverpool’s next game against elite competition is against Man City on March 10; if they want to finish above them, they almost definitely need to win.

Until then, they should maintain their reputation as flat-track bullies, even if Mohamed Salah is sidelined for the majority of February due to injury.

Although they didn’t play well against Arsenal, Liverpool was winning before then, and in light of Klopp’s unexpected resignation, the players should be motivated and focused on the tasks ahead.

It appears likely that until their pivotal head-to-head match, both Man City and Liverpool will be able to touch each other.

Arsenal needs more goals as they play a rematch with West Ham.

Arsenal, the front-runner, may have the hardest six weeks ahead of them despite their encouraging 3-1 victory over Liverpool the previous weekend.

This is due to the fact that they kick off the run against West Ham United, the scene of a two-goal collapse on April 16 of last year, which resulted in a 3-3 draw with Southampton and a 4-1 loss to Manchester City.

This is due to the fact that they kick off the run against West Ham United, the scene of a two-goal collapse on April 16 of last year, which resulted in a 3-3 draw with Southampton and a 4-1 loss to Manchester City.

Fans of Arsenal are already experiencing memories, especially after their 2-0 league loss to West Ham early in the season.

However, if they triumph at London Stadium, making it four straight Premier League victories, the Gunners will have more confidence going into a less difficult stretch of games.

After that, they play six league games at Emirates Stadium, with two away games against struggling teams, Burnley and Sheffield United. That offers a great chance to gather momentum ahead of the pivotal six-point match at Man City on March 31.

We cannot, however, minimise Arsenal’s problems with goal scoring and inventiveness, which persist even in the midst of their current winning run.

Arsenal’s 30.7 percent shot accuracy is better than that of only three Premier League sides, but more significantly, they don’t have a striker who can make smart moves and finish games with a killer instinct.

They lost to West Ham, Fulham, and Aston Villa in December because they lacked a clinical touch, and there’s still a chance the issue can resurface.

History indicates that there’s a good chance one of the top three will drop by the end of March.

However, throughout this time, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal all have good cause to think they will routinely defeat the lesser teams. So, everyone’s focus is on those two massive matchups at the top.

Image sources: Premier League




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