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Five Games To Decide The Title

Five Games To Decide The Title
Friday,March 4,2016

Five Games To Decide The Title

      Leicester lead the Premier League table by three points, with just ten games to go. This time last year, they were seven points from safety with eleven games to go. As they proved last season, a lot can happen in the last ten games, so here we look at five games that "might" decide where the title ends up going!


SPURS v ARSENAL – 5th March


      At the time of writing Spurs and Arsenal sit second and third in the table respectively, but with a midweek round of fixtures beforehand, that could all change. Arsenal will need to put one over their local rivals given the slip up in Manchester at the weekend, whilst Spurs will need to ensure that they don’t start to fatigue in the season’s home straight. Despite a campaign that has seen Spurs reach the last 16 of the Europa League, Sunday’s win against Swansea included seven players who played on Thursday evening, but the distance covered by Spurs eleven men was greater than any other team in the league last weekend. From a conditioning point of view, Spurs are the best team in the league, they’ve just got to hope that their star players maintain a healthy condition.

      The recent meetings between the two sides are fairly evenly split. Of the last four games in all competitions there’s a win for either side amongst two draws. The equivalent fixture last season saw Spurs come from behind to win 2-1, though they may want the luxury of leading at half time this time around!





      We’ve all expected Leicester’s season to go up in smoke since the turn of the year (Some even suggested they may go down!!) but it’s March now and on March 4th, 2016 – Leicester are top of the Premier League. Whether that leads holds through until the season end it has been the most marvellous effort. Whilst the game against Norwich at the weekend showed just how tight Leicester’s games may be from now on we are looking at the game against Crystal Palace as the true watershed moment of their season.

      Leicester’s two games previous to the trip to Selhurst are Watford (a) and Newcastle (h). Both are very winnable, though it’s unlikely that they will plunder six points, if they do, the trip to Palace could give Leicester a sizeable lead in the Premier League table. This potential lead is only exacerbated by the fact that Man City and Tottenham both play the following day. Palace beat Leicester home and away last season, but are in the midst of a slump, with the pressure on Ranieri’s men, can Pardew throw a spanner in the title race works.



MAN CITY v MAN UTD – 20th March


      In years gone by the Manchester Derby has been the standard bearer for title defining games. In 2012, City trailed United by eight points, with five games remaining. A Vincent Kompany header on the stroke of half-time was to be the turning point in a title race that climaxed with that infamous Aguerrrrrrrrro moment.

      This time, it could define whether City stay in a title race they’ve somehow managed to throw away. That a team which brought in Raheem Sterling and Kevin DeBruyne in the summer for more than £100m have actually regressed is remarkable. That a defeat in the local derby could extinguish their title bid in March is justification for Guardiola waiting in the wings.


SPURS v MAN UTD – 10th April


      Previous to Sunday, all four title challengers still had to play Man Utd. Arsenal were resolutely humbled by the naïve talents of Marcus Rashford and Man City may also have been put to the sword by van Gaal’s Red Devil’s by then. That would leave just Tottenham and Leicester to face Man Utd, home and away respectively.

      Tottenham probably have the most to fear from Man Utd, as their record is simply atrocious. Man Utd are one of the three sides to have beaten Tottenham this season and you have to go back to 19th May 2001 to find Tottenham’s last win against United at White Hart Lane. The fact that it came in the final game of the season after United had already claimed the title tells you that if Spurs can break their United hoodoo, it could well be their year!
If you have fond memories of William Prunier and a Spurs 4-1 rout, that was 1996, twenty years ago now!




      Arsenal were written out of the title race after Sunday’s defeat to Man Utd. True, their performance was insipid and they really should have beaten an under strength Man Utd, but there are 11 games left, and 33 points to play for. Arsenal could finish the season with 84 points, which would have last won the league title in 2011, beating Man Utd’s 80. The lowest ever points total was back in 1997, when Man Utd contrived to win 75 points and still won the league by seven points.

      If this year’s total is to be lower, then rather than being an after the Lord Mayor’s Show event, we could have a humdinger on our hands at the Etihad. Rather than a battle for the automatic Champions League place, this could be a battle for the real thing.



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Sunday, March 6, 2016 17:45 PM
After this weekend, it is surely Leicester's title to lose. Who'd have thought it back in august.

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