Football

14 Key Fixtures that will decide the Premier League 2016/2017

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Following Tottenham’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea which saw the Blues’ 13 game winning run end on Wednesday, Graeme Souness declared that this season’s Premier League title is a six-horse race. Here, we’ve picked out 14 key fixtures between now and the end of the season that’ll determine which team will win the trophy in May.

Manchester United vs. Liverpool (15th January)

Liverpool could cut the 5-point gap on leaders Chelsea when they travel to old rivals Manchester United in their next league fixture. Draws aren’t good enough for teams in the title chase, so Jurgen Klopp will hope he can leave with the three points. However, United are on the rise after a tough start to the season and Jose Mourinho relishes these games. The reverse fixture ended 0-0 in October.

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Manchester City vs. Tottenham (21st January)

Spurs were the first side to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and their victory over Chelsea shows that they’re up for the big games. City have found it tough of late, but Guardiola won’t expect a similar outcome to the 2-0 defeat that they suffered at White Hart Lane when his team have home advantage this time around.

Liverpool vs. Chelsea (31st January)

As it stands, this is the game between the top two sides in the table and there’s no knowing how wide or narrow the points difference will be between them when they meet at Anfield. A Liverpool victory could derail Chelsea’s title aspirations, while three points for Antonio Conte’s side could widen the gap even more. It’ll be a big game on a Tuesday night under floodlights in front of what will be a raucous Kop.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal (4th February)

5 days after travelling to Liverpool, Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. These two matches could define their season and they lost heavily to both opponents earlier in the campaign.

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Liverpool vs. Tottenham (11th February)

The last three meetings between these two sides have all ended in draws, which will be no good to either manager come the middle of February. Liverpool haven’t lost to Spurs since November 2012, while the North Londoners will also have the added pressure of a Europa League tie in Gent five days later.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United (26th February)

Pep Guardiola will be hoping his side produce the same kind of performance that saw them triumph in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford 2-1 in September. United were outplayed that day, but have improved since and this one could be a proper old-fashioned derby.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal (4th March)

This fixture on the first day of the season put the wheels in motion for Arsene Wenger to sign new players, but history has shown that Arsenal are usually out of the title race by March. They’ll still be competitive though and a win at Anfield could prove to be the motivator for a key battle for fourth place.

Manchester City vs. Liverpool (18th March)

Liverpool were victorious in a narrow 1-0 win on New Year’s Eve, but expect there to be goals in this one as the season nears the final straight. It’s also Liverpool’s last game against a top six opponent this season.

Arsenal vs. Manchester City (1st April)

Will there be an April fool at the Emirates when this fixture takes place? Arsene Wenger’s side put in a poor second half performance against City at the Etihad, surrendering a one-goal lead and they went on to lose the game 2-1. A repeat performance at home won’t go down well with the Gunners faithful if this season pans out like previous ones.

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Chelsea vs. Manchester City (5th April)

City’s second trip to London in five days could make or break their season. They lost their composure in the home game against Chelsea, going down to 9 men and losing Sergio Aguero for four games. A similar collapse would almost certainly signal the end of City’s title hopes.

Manchester United vs. Chelsea (15th April)

Mourinho will be out for revenge against his old club after United’s 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will travel to Manchester, 10 days after playing City at home. This game could come between the Europa League quarter final legs if they progress that far.

Tottenham vs. Arsenal (29th April)

If both sides are still in the title race, a late-season North London derby could be a very tasty affair. Both sides will be out to ruin it for the other.

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Arsenal vs. Manchester United (6th May)

A fixture that used to be the title decider from the Wenger-Ferguson era. Mourinho sees games against Arsenal as “banker victories” and this week could be a contract clincher in the long running will he stay/will he leave saga that revolves around Arsene Wenger.

Tottenham vs. Manchester United (13th May)

United return to North London, a week after playing Arsenal, and this game will almost certainly decide who finishes where in the table.

Outright Premier League 2016/17 – Winner – Odds

Words by @dominictrant