Arsenal’s third defeat in their previous four games last night could have all but ended their top four hopes. They now lie 10 points behind 4th and are lacking form. They have a good run of fixtures in the next five facing sides from 10th or below over that time. Only after these games can the side then assess whether there is anything left to push for in this league campaign. The favourable run starts with probably the sternest test, an away trip to in form Brighton. Their hosts have two wins and two draws in their last four and are 12th in the table. A win in this game could well move the hosts into a top half place, something which not many people would have predicted at the start of the season. Arsenal have lost their last three games on the road so could do with a timely return to form here or perhaps a repeat of the 2-0 win over Brighton from earlier in the season.
Chelsea travel to Manchester for the second week in a row but this time to face City. After an impressive performance which ultimately ended in defeat for the last time out, Chelsea dropped to 5th and outside of the top four for the first time in a while. They are now two points behind Tottenham but face their rivals at Stamford Bridge at the start of April. City remain top of the league thanks to their fourth win in five last night. With the games coming so close together they could need to rest some key players for this weekends fixture, but they do have a capable squad. They are currently 16 points clear at the top and the gap could continue to grow throughout the season.
Monday night sees Manchester United travel to injury-ravaged Crystal Palace. United remain second in the league but depending on other results may have dropped before kickoff. Never have Crystal Palace taken anything more than a point off of United in the Premier League. Two away defeats in a row through could unsettle Man United fans ahead of the game as they look to return to form. Palace are outside the bottom three on goal difference alone after a run of five games without a win but they have taken points off Manchester City and Chelsea this season already.
Third place Liverpool host Newcastle this weekend in a game which has provided some classic results in Premier League history. Both sides go into the game unbeaten in four league matches, Liverpool having won three of theirs. That form sees them sit in 3rd just two points behind Manchester United and could go above them with a win. Newcastle threw away a two-goal lead in their last match at Bournemouth and remain in danger of relegation thanks to it. They are two points above relegation but any of three sides can overtake them if they win and Newcastle slide to defeat.
Huddersfield are not one of those sides as they are 14th, one place and one point above Newcastle. They also face a tough test this weekend though with a trip to Tottenham. Spurs are in fine form at the moment winning three of their last five and currently occupy a place in the top four. Huddersfield have won their last two games to get them briefly out of danger and, although they may struggle in this game, better fixtures are coming.
Leicester haven’t won in their last four games but their mid-season form has helped them remain in mid-table. They host Bournemouth this weekend and a win could move them into the top seven and away from the sides below. Bournemouth are four points behind Leicester so could close the gap if they continue their run of good form. They have lost just one of their last five games.
Burnley v Everton is a game between two out of form mid-table sides. Burnley have not won a league game since early December yet their early season run was enough to keep them 7th. They do now risk losing that and, although Everton can draw level with a win, they will be unlikely to go above given the poor goal difference. The visitors have won two of their last five but have not won away in the league since early December, the same time as Burnley’s last win.
Only a point separates Southampton and Stoke and the pair meet at Saint Mary’s this weekend. A win for Southampton would give them a massive boost in the battle for survival and could move them as high as 13th. It would, however, be their first win in 15 games. Stoke have performed ok as of late but it as of yet hasn’t been enough to move them out of trouble. A win and three draws has brought in consistent points but the relegation-threatened side need more at this stage.
Swansea lost their first game in six last time out and with it fell back into the bottom three. This is despite picking up 10 points in their last five, their early season run has put them into a difficult position. They host West Ham who got themselves out of danger a few months ago but have been on a poor run since. One win in three has meant that they are still not quite clear of danger but there are a number of sides worse off. A big victory for Swansea could see them move above West Ham, however, if the away side avoid a defeat that will be a big boost for them.
Watford have won their last two home games and welcome bottom of the table, West Brom, this weekend. West Brom have won only three games this season so far and are at risk of being cut adrift. They need to make up seven points just to catch up with the sides above them. Watford are 10th at the moment and failure to win this game could see them drop out of the top half. If they can take the three points, however, they could put themselves in contention to finish highly this season.
After their poor recent run, Arsenal just need to have some under the radar results which help them close the gap to the top five a little. If they can put in four or five professional performances over the next month then they could be in a better possition come the end of the season.