In recent Premier League seasons, we have been used to seeing Manchester City and Liverpool go head-to-head at the top of the table.
Manchester City and Liverpool have finished in the top two places in the Premier League in three of the past four seasons.

Manchester City have won the title in four of the past five campaigns, but a surprise contender has emerged for the Premier League crown this season.

Arsenal are flying high at the top of the table, but can they maintain their form and hold off Manchester City?

Key Transfers

Photo: Bangkapois

Arsenal have been superb in the Premier League this season under the guidance of Mikel Arteta. It was not long-ago fans were calling for the head of the Spaniard, and The Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League last season with no sign of a potential title challenge in the 2022/23 campaign. However, the arrival of new players in the summer transfer window has seen Arsenal move to a new level. Interestingly, two of the best signings came from title rivals, Manchester City.

Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko joined for a combined fee of £75 million. Both players have made significant contributions in terms of both playing ability and winning mentality. Central defender William Saliba, who was previously sent out on loan, has come into the first team and performed brilliantly, creating a strong central defensive partnership with Gabriel Magalhães.

Although already an Arsenal player this season, Saliba is like a new signing, having previously played at Nice and Marseille on loan.

Drop Off from Manchester City

Manchester City have not been in the same form in the Premier League during this campaign as they were last season. Having played 25 matches in the league this season, Manchester City recorded 55 points, but at the same point last season, Manchester City had 63 points to their name and were top of the table.

There have been some interesting transfer decisions made by Guardiola this season, including the sale of Jesus and Zinchenko to Arsenal. Raheem Sterling left for Chelsea, and Joao Cancelo, who was one the best players in the Premier League last season, has been allowed to join Bayern Munich on loan. The major incoming was Erling Haaland, and he has been scoring goals for fun, although some fans feel he is not getting the service he requires to be at his very best. This season, we have not seen the Manchester City of recent years, and if they are to catch Arsenal, they are going to have to up their game in the matches that remain.

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Potential Arsenal Stumbling Blocks

If Manchester City are to catch Arsenal, the Gunners will have to drop points. Looking at their remaining fixtures in the Premier League, there are some tricky games for Arsenal to negotiate. Fulham and Liverpool away are both difficult matches, plus there is a run of three games in succession against Manchester City and Newcastle United away, plus Chelsea at home.

If Arsenal can get beyond the Newcastle United match and remain top of the league, it will be extremely difficult for Manchester City to catch them. Arsenal plays Brighton and Wolves at home plus Nottingham Forest away in their final three Premier League fixtures. If Arsenal are top of the league come the beginning of those three games, they will be the overwhelming favorites to win the title.

It is worth noting, thanks to their early elimination from the FA Cup and League Cup this season, Arsenal have been able to focus on the Premier League.

However, the Europa League resumes in March, and if Arsenal progress to the latter stages, they will be playing on Thursday and Sunday for much of what remains this season. The Thursday and Sunday schedule is tough, and that could hand Manchester City an advantage, even though they have the Champions League and FA Cup to play. Injuries can also play a part, and aside from Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal have yet to suffer any major injury problems this season. If Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, or Granit Xhaka were to get injured for a prolonged period, Arsenal would struggle to replace them. 

At this stage, Arsenal must be considered favorites to win the Premier League, but you can never count out Manchester City. Much can happen in the closing stages of the season.
Manchester City have what it takes to catch Arsenal, and we could be in for another thrilling finish to the season.

Featured Image: Bangkapois
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