Tips & Predictions

Premier League run-in preview

With around 10 matches left to play, the Premier League is starting to heat up as the infamous run-in begins to take shape.

We are going to take you through the respective battles for the title, European places and dreaded relegation spots.

The remaining fixtures will be key and we are going to take a closer look at the run-ins of each of the sides in contention for the title.

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Title race

Whilst we are sure that Pep Guardiola will not worry about any opponent in his way to a fourth consecutive Premier League title, Manchester City still have their fair share of testing fixtures to negotiate if they are to lift yet another title in England’s topflight.

The most important of these comes on March 31st as City host one of their main challengers, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. This game could sway the tide in either side’s favour but, having won last season’s edition of this grudge match 4-1, City will be confident of strengthening their hold.

Outside of that, City still have to face high-flyers Aston Villa and Tottenham, with a host of mid-table and bottom half sides making up the other eight fixtures.

Things look less inviting for Arteta’s side who, following their visit to the Etihad, will still also have to face Spurs and Aston Villa, as well as having to face historic rivals Manchester United and Chelsea in what are sure to be tougher games than they look on paper.

Jurgen Klopp’s farewell quadruple hopes were ended by Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals, but a second Premier League title would certainly be a good enough send off for the legendary German manager.

His side have the easiest run-in on paper given that they don’t have to face another title-race rival, but that also means they have more opportunities to directly snatch points from those around them. Unfortunately for Spurs and Villa, they both also lie in Liverpool’s path of destruction, but games against Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Everton look to provide good point-scoring opportunities outside of that.

As we approach the business end of the season, the so-called winnable games will become that much tougher and what is for certain is that handling the pressure will be key in this season’s title race.

Fight for European places

The Champions League is the most coveted of European competitions and, as it stands, Aston Villa and Tottenham look to be the two key contenders for that golden fourth place (although the Premier League may be awarded five places in next season’s tournament).

Should the Champions League spots be limited to four, neither side will have an easy time of securing their spot. As previously noted, both still have to face the deadly trio of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Spurs appear to have the toughest test, having to go up against Manchester United and a Chelsea side who demolished them 4-1 on their own turf at the start of the season. Whilst they do still have games against Luton, Nottingham Forest, Burnley and Sheffield United on the horizon, games against those sides battling relegation are never tougher than at the end of the season.

The Europa League spots, currently fifth and sixth, look incredibly open with both Champions League chasers in the mix, as well as Manchester United, West Ham, Brighton, Wolves, Newcastle and Chelsea all in amongst it.

United hold all the cards as the team currently in sixth, whilst Chelsea have the most ground to make up as they currently sit 11th. The Blues do however have two games in hand on West Ham and one on everyone else and wins in both would put them right amongst the action.

No run-ins are going to be easy, but the picture looks especially bleak for Brighton who still have to play the three title challengers, as well as Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle and Chelsea.

Relegation battle

With points deductions flying in left, right and centre, the relegation battle is hotting up as much off the pitch as it is on it. Nottingham Forest look to have four points taken away, whilst Everton continue to live with their six-point deduction.

Following a string of heavy defeats Sheffield United look all but down, although their favourable run-in may offer a glimmer of hope. The key games to note here come against Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Everton, all of which fall in the final five games of the season – talk about make or break!

The picture also looks bleak for Vincent Kompany’s side and key games against Everton and Sheffield United could be the difference, whilst their final day clash with Nottingham Forest is getting more interesting by the week.

Forest have been thrown right into the heat of the battle with their four-point deduction leaving them 18th, one point away from safety. They still have City and Chelsea to overcome, but outside of that the points will be there for the taking and, with a plethora of talent in the squad such as Anthony Elanga and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Forest will be hopeful of maintaining their Premier League status.

Many expected Luton Town to be down and out by now but Rob Edwards’ side have shown a grit and determination that goes unmatched in the Premier League. Robbed of points late on in so many games, the Hatters have shown they have what it takes to grab points off any side in the league and, no matter whom their opponents may be, they will continue to try to do the same in the run-in.

Everton’s points deduction throws them into the mix as well but, with new stadium plans on the horizon, the Toffees can’t afford to even think about a season in England’s second tier. A poor run of form has seen Brentford creep into relegation contention, but with stars such as Ivan Toney in the side it may not be long before they pull clear of the struggling pack.

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