Premier League Preview: Will Spurs torpedo Arsenal’s title-bid?

2 min read

Just a matter of days on from Liverpool’s capitulation at Goodison Park – where the Reds lost 2-0 to rivals Everton and effectively ruled themselves out of the most exhilarating three-horse title race we have witnessed in years – and Manchester City’s barnstorming 4-0 rout over Brighton, the Premier League is back in action for Gameweek 35, with Sunday’s north London derby taking centre stage. 

Whilst it is not mathematically impossible for Liverpool to win the league, it now looks as though the race for the crown is between City and Arsenal, though the picture could look a lot different when this weekend’s round of fixtures are completed. 

City travel to Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon and it looks almost impossible to look past them extending their unbeaten run in the league to a monumental 19 games. A draw, of course, would not be good enough when the stakes are this high but with Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Julian Alvarez firing on all cylinders there is nothing to suggest that three points will be hard to come by for the Cityzens in the East Midlands, against a Forest side who have won just one of their last nine league games and find themselves in genuine danger of relegation.

This is the time of the season where Pep Guardiola and his experienced band of superstars flourish. They thrive when confined to the Premier League’s pressure cannon and are once again in the driving seat with just five games left to play. With Forest, Wolves, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham making up the remaining fixtures of their domestic calendar, only a fool would bet against them obtaining maximum points between now and May 19th.

City’s bid can be assisted this weekend, too, should Arsenal falter against a team who have the ability to fast-bowl a grenade directly through middle stump and blow their title chances to smithereens on Sunday. Tottenham are next up for Mikel Arteta’s men and will be desperate to derail the Gunners’ fight for the title, whilst in turn bolstering their own chances of securing a spot in the top-four. 

It is a game with so much riding on it, and a fixture that rarely ever disappoints. Within the last nine fixtures between these two teams in the Premier League, there have been a total of 29 goals scored – an average of 3.2 per game. Tension is always high due to the nature of such a bitter, hate-fuelled rivalry but this weekend’s game offers a new dimension altogether, with a defeat for Arsenal practically ending their chances of pipping City to the title. Oh how Tottenham would love to be the team to thwart them at the 11th hour. 

With the Gunners in such blistering form, though, it seems implausible for them to slip up here. With the scars of last season’s title collapse still on display, Arteta’s young side seem more experienced and adept at dealing with these kinds of emotionally-charged, pressure cooker situations. 

Sure, the defeat to Villa was disappointing and, when all is said and done, could prove to be decisive. And while tumbling out of the Champions League against Bayern Munich would have stung it was perhaps not overly unexpected due to the disparity in experience on that particular stage. But saddling back up with wins over Wolves and Chelsea – the latter in which was a perfect example of a title-gunning team doing exactly what needed to be done (and emphatically) against a team which, before kick off, offered the opportunity to upset the applecart – will have reignited faith and belief that they can run the champions right down to the wire. 

In Spurs, Arsenal face a team reeling from a shambolic performance away at Newcastle last Saturday – a game in which they struggled to get out of neutral and paid the price, losing 4-0 at St. James’ Park; the second time in which they have suffered such a heavy defeat in that arena within the space of a year. 

Despite that confidence-debunking defeat in the north east, Ange Postecoglou will have faith in his side’s chances this weekend considering the game is at Tottenham and the crowd will be significantly upweighted in his team’s favour. For all I have written about Arsenal above, questions around their mettle and resolve still remain thanks to what can be found tattooed all over the history books. Sunday’s showdown offers them the perfect chance to rewrite the future pages.

Premier League Gameweek 35 – Fixtures in full

Saturday 27 April

West Ham United 12:30 Liverpool

Wolverhampton Wanderers 15:00 Luton Town

Newcastle United 15:00 Sheffield United

Manchester United 15:00 Burnley

Fulham 15:00 Crystal Palace

Everton 17:30 Brentford

Aston Villa 20:00 Chelsea

Sunday 28 April

Tottenham Hotspur 14:00 Arsenal

AFC Bournemouth 14:00 Brighton & Hove Albion

Nottingham Forest 16:30 Manchester City