Premier League enters its most intriguing title race yet -Xinhua

Premier League enters its most intriguing title race yet

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-08 16:19:30

BEIJING, April 8 (Xinhua) -- After 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo scored a spectacular goal for Manchester United at Old Trafford, the race for this season's Premier League title has become fiercer.

Although Egyptian Mohamed Salah ultimately helped Liverpool secure one point with a penalty kick on Sunday, it was enough for Arsenal to leapfrog them to the top of the table on goal difference.

With only seven matches remaining this season, Arsenal and Liverpool are tied at 71 points, with defending champions Manchester City trailing just one point behind. This sets the stage for the most intense title race since the 1998-99 season.

Despite their return to the top, Arsenal face the toughest remaining fixtures. They are set to clash with traditional "big 6" teams Chelsea, Man United, and Tottenham, with only the Chelsea match being held at home. And this Sunday's match against Aston Villa, who are fighting to secure their top-four spot, promises to be a tough encounter. Not to forget, prior to these matches, the Gunners embark on their journey to Munich for the Champions League quarter-finals.

However, Arsenal's revitalized form is key to their fans' confidence. Under Mikel Arteta's tutelage, their attacking line has shown new vigor, with German Kai Havertz's activity in the forward line being instrumental. They haven't trailed in any league match since the start of 2024, scoring 38 goals in 10 league games.

Compared to the other title contenders, Arteta also boasted the most complete squad. Even defender Jurrien Timber, who suffered a major injury in the season opener, is nearing a return.

Jurgen Klopp will bid farewell to Anfield at the end of the season, and everyone associated with Liverpool hoped to send him off with a league trophy. However, their poor conversion rate in the match against Man United raised doubts about whether they can achieve this goal. Despite bombarding the opposition with 15 shots in the first half, they only managed to score one goal. This cost them dearly as they faced a furious comeback from United in the second half.

The good news for Liverpool is that their remaining fixtures are relatively easy, and although they are also competing on two fronts, they face the challenge of the Europa League, which is evidently less intense than the Champions League knockout stages.

Despite trailing by one point, Man City remained calm. They have traditionally exhibited formidable stability in the league, and the maturity of their players has only grown since winning the Champions League last summer. According to simulations by the supercomputer Opta, they remained the favorites with a 39.4% chance of lifting the trophy.

Man City calmly awaited Arsenal and Liverpool to slip up, which would be their ideal scenario. At present, Pep Guardiola's primary focus is on emerging victorious in the two-legged clash against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Once they overcome this formidable opponent, Guardiola's ambition to retain the title will be within reach. However, he needs to consider how to further activate Erling Haaland's form in these crucial encounters.