The Premier League is halfway through this week, and clubs chasing a title or a top-four finish and with it Champions League qualification next season will face an important set of fixtures in the coming days.

– Broadcasts on Sportzshala+: La Liga, Bundesliga and more (USA)

- Advertisement -

Manchester City will play Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday, Liverpool will play Chelsea two days later and leaders Arsenal will face a resurgent Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday. Each of these games has become huge for different reasons for the teams involved.

- Advertisement -

And with the so-called “Big Six” all pitted against each other (while Manchester United also play Crystal Palace on Wednesday), third-placed Newcastle United could keep their surprise fight for title by beating Palace at St. James Park on Saturday.

- Advertisement -

Each team’s outlook will become clearer at the end of this pivotal week, but what are they all chasing and how will the season play out from now on?

– Premier League: Table | Schedule | Statistics


ARSENAL

1st place, 47 points, goal difference +28

Target

At the start of the season, Arsenal simply wanted to finish in the top four and return to the Champions League for the first time since 2017. At the table, Mikel Arteta’s team became favorites to win for the first time since 2004.

What do they need?

Arsenal have only lost once all season in the league, Manchester United at Old Trafford in September, and have lost just seven points in 18 games. If they keep that form, Arsenal could score 100 points, but with all their rivals showing inconsistency at some point in this campaign, it won’t take that much to win the title. If they win all 20 remaining games, Manchester City will still only have 99 points, so Arsenal will just have to keep their composure and make the most of their eight-point lead.

What can go wrong?

Arteta’s team is just a team. This is a team that does not rely on one outstanding player, but on captain Martin Odegaard, a striker Bukayo Saka and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale grew during the season. If Arsenal had lost any of these players or a midfielder Thomas Partey, over a long period of time, it would be difficult for them to replace them. But they haven’t been touched yet. Gabriel Jesus‘ absence due to injury after the World Cup. The only question that needs to be answered is how Arsenal will react to a setback or bad run of results. Do they have enough composition and experience not to go astray? Until now, they have not been embarrassed by the pressure of leadership.

Where will they end up?

Like champions. Sunday’s victory over Tottenham was huge. Arsenal are now the favourites, and rightly so.


MANCHESTER

2nd place, 39 points, +28 gf

Target

Make no mistake, Manchester City’s goal this season is to win the Champions League and if they do, a fruitless season in domestic competition won’t bother anyone at Etihad. But City are trying to become only the fifth English club to win three league titles in a row and manager Pep Guardiola loves to make history, so they will be desperate to beat Arsenal.

What do they need?

The city needs to find some consistent form. They’ve only won four of their last eight games in all competitions and lost the last two, so it’s an extraordinarily difficult time for Guardiola’s side. Back in 2017/18, City won a record 18 straight Premier League games and they may have to do it again to turn the nut against Arsenal. With the champions yet to play the Gunners home and away this season, they could turn the tide by winning both games.

What can go wrong?

Maybe it’s already started to go wrong. City have scored just six goals in their last eight away matches in all competitions. Erling Haalandincredible, having scored in just two away games since September. The free attacking football that City had mastered under Guardiola brought in plenty of goals, but they lost that fluency with Haaland in the team. Yes, they now have a formidable scorer, but at least away from home, the opposition has found a way to stop City. If they can’t rediscover their cutting edge edge, the title will slip away.

Where will they end up?

Second. City have done too much for themselves and their room for error is now too little to catch up with Arsenal.


NEWCASTLE United

3rd, 38 points, +22 DG

Target

A European qualification and a first trophy since 1969 would be a dream scenario at the start of the season and Eddie Howe’s team is ready for both. But a place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup has been eclipsed by league form, with Newcastle still in the title race and firmly in contention for a Champions League spot.

What do they need?

Newcastle need goals. Although they have the best defense in the league, goals are starting to dry up with just one goal scored in their last three Premier League games. Return to fitness after signing a club record Alexander Isak however, it can be decisive. The Swedish international scored the final winning goal in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Fulham and now has three goals in four league games. If he can keep fit and fit, Isak could be the man to score goals and get into the top four, especially if Miguel Almiron (nine out of 19) continues its impressive season.

What can go wrong?

Newcastle are in unknown territory at the top of the table, having spent much of the last decade fighting relegation or trying to get back into the top flight. Their team is still staffed with players who have lagged behind previous managers for years, so can they sustain the team’s outstanding success when they lost just once in the league all season? Howe has made some astute signings and changed the team’s existing players, but when the heat heats up, Newcastle’s lack of depth and authentic top-four quality could be their downfall.

Where will they end up?

Fifth. Newcastle have outperformed all expectations so far, but their rivals have the best lineups and players who are experienced in dealing with the pressure of the onslaught.


MANCHESTER UNITED

4th, 38 points, +8 GS

Target

United’s main goal under new manager Erik ten Hag at the start of the season was to finish in the top four and stabilize after the club’s worst Premier League campaign in 2021–22. A nightmarish start with two consecutive defeats made that goal look optimistic, but United are back on track and still alive in four competitions as they try to end a six-year trophy drought. Saturday’s victory over City sparked talk of a title bid. It seems premature, but if they beat Palace and Arsenal this week, United will be a serious contender.

What do they need?

Ten Hag has somehow returned results, consistency, confidence and faith to Old Trafford in less than six months and United just needs to keep up their resurgence. In the top 10, only Chelsea (22) have scored fewer goals than United (29), so there is clear room for improvement in that department, hence the signing of the Netherlands striker on loan. Wut Weghorst from Burnley. United climbed into the top four thanks in large part to Marcus Rashfordrecent streak of eight goals in seven games, so Weghorst’s arrival is timely as Ten Hag needs an extra threat up front. But this is a crucial week. United have won nine games in a row and if they make it 10 and 11 at Selhurst Park and the Emirates, the momentum could push United very close to the title.

What can go wrong?

United have had too many false dawns to mention in the decade since the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have seen big successes end in disappointment. While things seem different under Ten Hag, United could be blown off course if anyone from Rashford, casemiro, Bruno Fernandes or Raphael Varane should have missed the series. United are clearly on the rise again, but a lack of depth in key areas means they should be lucky with injuries and suspensions.

Where will they end up?

Thirdly. United look strong again but they are not ready to win the title and Arsenal and City will take the lead.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

5th place, 33 points, +10 GS

Target

The Spurs looked well-equipped to comfortably finish in the top four this season, but coach Antonio Conte’s team has suffered from inconsistency and injury to key players. So the Spurs will have to battle again in the second half of the season to finish fourth and at the same time do enough to convince the star striker. Harry Kane that he can fulfill his ambitions at the club. With Kane’s contract expiring in June 2024, that’s a massive six months for the club and the England captain.

What do they need?

The Spurs have won three of their last eight games in all competitions but now face a potentially decisive three-game streak that will define their season. Conte’s team will play City home and away, both sides of the London derby against Fulham at Craven Cottage, and they really need at least four points in those games to keep a glimmering hope of a top four finish. With a five-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed United, the Spurs are already losing ground and scoring four points in the next three games seems like a daunting task given their recent form.

What can go wrong?

Kane’s injury is a nightmare scenario, and the 29-year-old has been unlucky with injuries in the past, so his fitness will always be a concern. But even if Kane stays in shape, the Spurs still have a mountain to go to finish in the top four and there is a risk that their form will deteriorate further and they will end the battle for qualification to the Europa League. And then there is the hot-tempered personality of Conte. Right now, the results and performances suggest that a crash may be just around the corner.

Where will they end up?

Seventh. Spurs are drifting, and not only are they at risk of being caught…