The next 60 days will decide the Premier League title. There is a lot at stake this season. Liverpool could end they trophy-less 30 years run in the English top flight and establish themselves as the England’s most powerful football club at least for 12 months. On the other hand a second Manchester City title under Pep Guardiola will seal the SkyBlue domination of the Premier League. Here are the 90 days that will decide the Premier League’s top 4.
Fixtures until Jan 03, 2019: Arsenal (away), Fulham (home), Watford (away), Everton (home), Burnley (away), Bournemouth (away), Manchester United (home), Wolverhampton (away), Newcastle (home), Arsenal (home), Manchester City (away).
I think that if Liverpool top the table on January 3rd after their clash with Manchester City at Etihad, they will be the most likely Premier League champions. Reds have a very difficult schedule and their first big test is the visit to Emirates this week. Arsenal aren’t bulletproof despite that they have been unbeaten since 18th of August when they lost 3:2 at Stamford Bridge.
It looks like that Liverpool’s top three started finding their form and that the Liverpool’s more cautious style of playing both at home and away will save their players’ energy in the forthcoming months. The high press they used last season was quite exhausting and created risks for the Reds back four. With the likes of Fabinho and Baby Keita integrating well into the Reds squad jurgen Klopp has more opportunities in the midfield and could use rotation. Having in-form Daniel Sturridge is also a big boost for the Reds.
Liverpool look solid in the back as they have conceded only 4 goals so far this season. Three of those goals have been conceded during their away games against Tottenham (won), Leicester (won) and Chelsea (drawn). The fourth one has been scored by Cardiff City on their visit to Anfield during the second half when Reds were leading 2:0. For now Liverpool control their games and the only time when they needed to return into the game when at Stamford Bridge when a late Daniel Sturridge goal won them a point.
Liverpool gave a tricky schedule of 8 games to play in November – a visit to Watford, then a Champion’s League clash with Paris Saint-Germain in France and then a Merseyside derby against Everton. Then the Jurgen Klop’s men visit Burnley and Bournemouth and host Napoli in a Champions League clash which will decide who will pass the group stage. Five days lated the Reds play against Manchester United at Anfield.
It looks to me that the best that Liverpool could do is to win 29 points on average until January 4th, the day after their visit to Etihad Stadium. This might include draws against Man United and Manchester City. By that day Liverpool would probably have between 55 and 58 points. If Reds have more than 58 points they would have made a huge step to the Premier League trophy.
Projection: 1st or 2nd
Fixtures until Jan 03, 2019: Fulham (home), Southampton (away), Manchester United (home), West Ham (away), Bournemouth (home), Watford (away), Chelsea (away), Everton (home), Crystal Palace (home), Leicester City (away), Southampton (away), Liverpool (home).
After their visit to West Ham’s London stadium Man City have a very important Champions League fixture. They go to Lyon to play against the fresh side who won 1:2 at Etihad Stadium. This is a clash which will decide the fist place in their Champions League group.
The Sky Blues have three very difficult fixtures to play in the Premier League – against Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool at home. It looks to me that they might not be able to win more than 4 points in those games. If they do, they would claim the first place in January. If Manchester United win on their away trip to Bournemouth they will be confident against their local rivals. United’s manager Jose Mourinho is fighting to save his reputation of a winner and there is a lot at stake for him each and every game. Man United might or might not enter the top 4 this season, but they will certainly win games against the other top clubs and both games against Manchester City are important for them.
The next big test for Manchester City is their visit to Stamford Bridge. this is a game which will decide whether Chelsea will stay in the title race or not. Chelsea’s fixture list is not easy as they have a games to play in the League Cup and in UEFA Europa League and also go to Wembley to play against Tottenham before they welcome Manchester City. Chelsea are capable if either drawing or winning against Manchester City at home and Pep Guardiola’s side will be very lucky if they get all the points at Stamford Bridge. It looks like that Chelsea enjoy the way they play under Maurizio Sarri and it is very likely that they will be in a top form in the beginning of December when they host Man City.
I will not be surprised if the City’s home fixture against Liverpool on 3rd of January will decide who will top the table in January. It is not going to be easy for Manchester City to win against the Reds and all depends on their current form. Last year they have trashed liverpool, but then lost twice against them. This year City have already drawn at Anfield and were a little bit better than their opponents on their visit to Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s side would probably win 30 points by January 4th, the days after they welcome Liverpool at home.it is very important whether they win or draw against Reds, a game which might decide who will top the table. If City don’t loose against Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool they will collect 55 or 56 points, which will be enough to keep them on the top of the Premier League or at second, if Liverpool have won all the points before visiting Etihad.
Projection: 1st or 2nd
Fixtures until Jan 03, 2019: Crystal Palace (home), Everton (home), Tottenham (away), Fulham (home), Wolves (away), Manchester City (home), Brighton (away), Leicester (home), Watford (away), Crystal Palace (away), Southampton (home).
After a trip to the Derby Country Pride Park, Chelsea will stay at home or will travel less than their Premier League rivals within the next 60 days. they have a trip to Belarus on 8th of November to play against BATE in the UEFA Europa League, but look at their schedule after that. They welcome Everton at home and then after this game have only one visit to Wolverhampton and one to Brighton. All other games of theirs will be played in London or around the city.
I think that it is very likely Chelsea to win between 28 and 30 points by January 3rd, 2019. If they take advantage of their unique schedule and if any of their top table rivals slip the Blues might even claim the first place. The games against Spurs and Manchester City will be obviously the most important ones for them. A win against City might bring Chelsea to the 2nd or set place.
Projection: 2nd or 3rd
Fixtures until Jan 03, 2019: Liverpool (home), Wolves (home), Bournemouth (away), Tottenham (home), Manchester United (away), Huddersfield (home), Southampton (away), Burnley (home), Brighton (away), Liverpool (away), Fulham (home).
It is a cliche that there are no easy Premier League games. However, the next 60 days a huge test for Arsenal. In the next five fixtures the Gunners play against team which are well composed and are strong enough to win points against them. The Unay Emery’s side plays twice against Liverpool, once against Spurs and goes to Old Trafford, where they haven’t won since season 2006/07.
Arsenal have a good team and I have a feeling that nay Emery will try to win The UEFA Europa League this season, something that Arsene Wenger failed to do last season. They will also chase for the top 4 finish, something that they are capable of achieving.
Unay Emery must continue improving his defence. Arsenal have conduced 13 goals in the first 10 Premier League games which is a lot for a team that want to play Champions League football next season. The Gunners attack is strong enough. They striker scored as many goals as those of Liverpool and Chelsea. So, it is clear that if Unay Emery manages to improve his teams defensive performance he will in more points and will keep the team in the top 4. The two games against Liverpool and the one against Spurs and Manchester United will be the big test for the Arsenal’s squad.
It looks to me that Arsenal would win between 22 and 25 points by January 2nd, 2019, something which will be enough to keep them in the fight for top 4 finish.
Projection: 4th or 5th
Fixtures until Jan 03, 2019: West Ham (away), Wolves (away), Crystal Palace (away), Chelsea (home), Arsenal (away), Southampton (home), Leicester City (away), Burnley (home), Everton (away), Bournemouth (Home), Wolves (away), Cardiff City (away).
Looking at Spurs fixture list until the beginning of january doesn’t;t make me optimistic for them. Besides those opponents listed above, Tottenham need to play games against PSV Eindhoven (home), Inter (home) and Barcelona (away) in the Champions League. Mauricio Pochettino’s team needs to win all those games and to relay on Barcelona to beat Inter at Camp Nou in order to progress to the next stage of the tournament. Spurs cannot just ignore their next three Champions League fixtures and cannot rest their best players. So, the next 60 days will be difficult for them.
Any of the following teams – West Ham, Wolves, Chelsea, Arsenal Leicester City and Everton – could either draw or win against Spurs. It will be particularly hard for they to play against Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Burnley as those games are on the back of Tottenham’s Champions League fixtures. I’ll be very curious on how Pochettino’s will manage his team’s schedule. Will he decide to give a priority to the Premier League as this is the competition which will keep Tottenham among the best teams in Europe in the long run?
If Spurs are at their best in the Premier League, they can win between 30 and 32 points if they don’t loose games (or loose just once) and allow themselves to make two draws.
Projection: 4th or 5th