Wednesday 22 November 2017

Nine fixtures that will define the Premier League title race

We take a look at the matches that will have the greatest bearing on who lifts the trophy in May

The Premier League trophy Photo:Getty
The Premier League trophy Photo:Getty

The battle between Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City to win the Premier League title continues to intrigue and entertain in equal measure.

It was a fantastic weekend for Spurs and the Foxes who came through what turned into tough encounters against Swansea and Norwich respectively. The manner or the wins smacked of 'title winning credentials'.

While Manchester City dropped off the pace due to their involvement in the Capital One Cup final, Arsenal did so due to their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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? We take a look...

March 2: Liverpool vs Manchester City

Manchester City have a game in hand following their Capital One Cup final and if they are to haul themselves back into the title reckoning they will need to do it all again against Liverpool (only this time they won't have the luxury of penalties). Defeat would leave them nine points adrift of the top and in they eyes of many, too far off the pace to stand a chance.

Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero lifts the League Cup after beating Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

March 5: Tottenham vs Arsenal

A huge match in which the ultimate winners could be Leicester and Manchester City. The north London derby is a stand-out fixture in the Premier League calender at the best of times but rarely has it meant so much in terms of league ambitions. Arsenal can boast a healthy record at White Hart Lane in recent times, winning on two of their last three visits.

Mesut Ozil tried his best to create a breakthrough for Arsenal against Southampton Photo: Reuters / Dylan Martinez

April 2: Liverpool vs Tottenham

To keep their title tilt on track a result at Anfield might be necessary for Spurs. That they've only won once at Anfield in the league since 1993 might be a concern.

April 9: West Ham vs Arsenal

This London derby looks a tricky one for Arsenal, particularly if Slaven Bilic's side continue to be in the kind of form they've been showing of late. The Hammers also have ambitions of their own with a European place well and truly in their grasp.

April 10: Tottenham vs Manchester United

Tottenham tend to struggle against Manchester United but if they want to win a first title since 1960/1961 they may need to buck that trend when they host the Red Devils.

April 10: Sunderland vs Leicester

Leicester have, on paper, the easiest run-in among the title contenders. However, while they might not be playing the top teams in the division, they will be facing a lot of sides that are prepared to defend for long periods and sneak a goal at the other end - the exact tactics that Leicester tend to struggle against. Few managers know how to set up a side for a task like that as well as Sam Allardyce and with Sunderland battling for survival, this could be a tricky one.

Claudio Ranieri's reign at Leicester has been this season's surprise success story Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

May 1: Manchester United vs Leicester

At the turn of May, Leicester face a trip to Old Trafford against a side that could still be in the hunt for the Champions League. Big for both sides.

May 2: Chelsea vs Tottenham

Chelsea showed against Liverpool a couple of years ago that they're prepared to shatter dreams, even if the match doesn't mean all that much to themselves. With the Blues looking better every week, a visit to Stamford Bridge this late on in the campaign is arguably one of the last trips Mauricio Pochettino would have wanted to be making.

P66 Spurs look real 1.jpg
Harry Kane rushes to join in as Danny Rose celebrates after scoring the winner for Spurs. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images

May 7/8 weekend: Manchester City vs Arsenal

Either a blessing or a nightmare - on the penultimate weekend of the season Manchester City and Arsenal meet at the Etihad. While it provides an opportunity to peg back a rival, it also means an incredibly tough game for both sides. Tottenham and Leicester will be delighted 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

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