Arsenal given Premier League title advantage over Manchester City as run-in takes shape
Manchester City have a healthy lead atop the Premier League with time running out, but the fixture list does offer Arsenal a boost with far kinder games.
With the home straight in view, Manchester City are on 82 points from 34 games after finally overhauling Arsenal, who sit second on 81 points from 35 games.
The sides are guaranteed to occupy the top two spots in the Premier League table, with only their order to be decided.
And while Manchester City have the obvious advantage, the fixture list has handed Arsenal a hint of hope in their pursuit of the title.
Manchester City face Everton (17th, a) at 2pm
Arsenal face Brighton (7th, h) at 4.30pm
Sandwiched between two legs of a Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid is a trip to Goodison Park for Manchester City, who might be grateful that Everton are not away if their Bank Holiday demolition of Brighton by the south coast is anything to go by.
Pep Guardiola’s side have the opportunity to put a bit of daylight between themselves and Arsenal, who host those battered Seagulls at the Emirates later in the same day.
May 20 and 21
Arsenal face Nottingham Forest (16th, a) on May 20
Manchester City face Chelsea (11th, h) on May 21
All things being well, Arsenal will have the opportunity to return to the top of the Premier League, even if only temporarily, before the season is out. They travel to Nottingham Forest in a Saturday evening game before Manchester City host Chelsea on the Sunday afternoon. Do the thing, Frank.
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Manchester City face Brighton (7th, a) on May 24
Games in hand or points on the board? Manchester City do indeed have both for now but the former has long been something of a red herring. That trip to Brighton – despite Everton’s brilliance – is no gimme and Arsenal might be watching in as much expectation as hope if Roberto de Zerbi’s side play to their potential as the ultimate spoilers.
Manchester City face Brentford (9th, a)
Arsenal face Wolves (13th, h)
It could all come down to this or, conversely, be entirely settled by then. But if there is anything riding on the final day between Manchester City and Arsenal, there is more reason for the latter to heed Mikel Arteta’s advice and “keep digging, keep believing”.
The Gunners should realistically navigate a way past Wolves at home, having beaten the mid-table stragglers 2-0 in November. But it was in that same round of pre-World Cup fixtures that Manchester City were stunned in their only home defeat of the season thus far. If Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa gave them a scare at the end of the last campaign then Brentford will positively petrify a Manchester City side who could yet win all or nothing.
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