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Premier League Title Race: Arsenal top of the charts at Christmas

A 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday night saw Arsenal maintain their place at the top of the Premier League, but the chasing pack or hot on their heels.

This season promises to be the closest title race in years, with just six points separating the top five going into the end of December fixtures.

We take a look at the quintet eyeing the big prize and what’s ahead for each team over the next couple of weeks.

Arsenal: Gunners out to banish bad memories

Mikel Arteta’s men held a two-point lead at this stage last year, but stumbled in the closing stages to eventually lose out to Manchester City.

We are five games further on this time around though, due to the mid-season World Cup 12 months ago, and Arsenal should be stronger following last season’s experience.

Although their football is not hitting the heights of the 2022-23 season, the Gunners look more solid and their manager has also learnt a lot from last season’s frustration.

A one-point advantage is not much when you consider there are still 20 league games to play, but having your nose in front at Christmas can often give you an edge.

Arsenal - Outright Winners @ 5/2

Next three Premier League games:

  • West Ham (h) 28th December
  • Fulham (a) 31st December
  • Crystal Palace (h) 20th January

Liverpool: Injuries threaten to derail Reds

With all the key personnel changes in their squad, many felt Liverpool wouldn’t be title challengers this season.

But Jurgen Klopp’s men have gelled quickly and despite a long list of injuries, the Reds are still sat in second - having lost just one of their opening 18 games.

The Anfield treatment room is getting fuller by the day though, with Kostas Tsimikas the latest long-term absentee after breaking his collarbone in the draw with Arsenal.

The Greek defender joins Diogo Jota, Andy Robertson, Joel Matip, Alexis Mac Allister, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic on the sidelines.

Liverpool - Outright Winners @ 11/4

Next three Premier League games:

  • Burnley (a) 26th December
  • Newcastle (h) 1st January
  • Bournemouth (a) 21st January

Aston Villa: January additions will impact Villa hopes

Unai Emery has worked wonders with Aston Villa and nobody would have expected them to be third at Christmas and just a point off top spot.

Villa have scored more goals (38) than any of the other top-four teams and are unbeaten in nine home league games – which include victories over both Arsenal and Manchester City.

In contrast, Emery’s men have only won four of their nine away games and that will need to improve if they are to be serious title contenders.

Another factor is if the owners back their manager in the January transfer, with a couple of notable additions needed in order to bolster the Villa squad.

Aston Villa - Outright Winners @ 20/1

Next three Premier League games:

  • Man Utd (a) 26th December
  • Burnley (h) 30th December
  • Everton (a) 14th January

Tottenham: Attack the best form defence for Big Ange

Spurs fans have already enjoyed a hugely entertaining first half of the season, with Ange Postecoglou winning over the supporters with his style of play.

The Australian’s tactics have caused confusion for several opposing managers and Tottenham have picked up wins over Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester United – whilst taking a point off Manchester City and Arsenal.

Defensive reinforcements are needed in January if they are to maintain a place in the top-four, whilst losing Son Heung-Min to the Asian Cup will be a blow to continue with.

Tottenham would accept Champions League football at the end of the season, but will also feel there is a chance to mount a challenge for the title with how tight it remains in the upper echelons, with just four points between themselves and the Gunners.

Tottenham - Outright Winners @ 25/1

Next three Premier League games:

  • Brighton (a) 28th December
  • Bournemouth (h) 31st December
  • Man Utd (a) 14th January

Manchester City: Champions can launch another unbeaten run

Pep Guardiola’s men currently find themselves in the unusual position of being outside of the top four, following their participation in the Club World Cup.

The defending champions are six points off the top, but they do have a game in hand on the four teams above them, whilst they have the experience of several recent title successes.

City went on a 16-game unbeaten run between February and mid-May last season and are more than capable of a similar run this term.

One significant factor in a potential City fightback will be the return of Kevin De Bruyne after a lengthy absence, although fitness concerns remain over Erling Haaland.

Manchester City - Outright Winners @ 5/4

Next three Premier League games:

  • Everton (a) 27th December
  • Sheff Utd (h) 30th December
  • Newcastle (a) 13th January

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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