Title race, relegation battle & more – how things stand ahead of the final Premier League fixtures

Title race, relegation battle & more - how things stand ahead of the final Premier League fixtures

The drama is reaching its peak as the 2023/24 Premier League (PL) season hurtles towards its final whistle this Sunday.

Read on as we dissect an epic title race, analyse the top-four scrabble, and dive into the battle for survival at the bottom of the table.

Fans eager to witness any of these final PL matches live can scurry to seatsnet.com – the best ticket marketplace to secure a spot in the stands.

The title race

Arsenal and Manchester City have given it their all. These heavyweights have been the ultimate competitors, refusing to back down in this unforgettable battle for supremacy.

Liverpool tried to keep up with them but fell apart over their past five games and settled for third place.

At this point last season, we were already talking about Arsenal’s fickle mentality as they gave up good ground and capitulated in the title race.

This season, the Gunners have been more consistent and sturdy in their pursuit of that elusive 14th PL title.

Mikel. Arteta’s side have won 15 of their 17 games in 2024 (D1, L1). They have the meanest defence in the league (28 goals conceded) and boast the second-best attack in the top flight (89 goals scored).

In another timeline, Arsenal are probably heading to gameweek 38 with the title already in the bag. But they are up against a City side ready to punish them for that one slip-up at home against Aston Villa on April 14. 

That 2-0 defeat against Villa gave City a route to overtake them at the summit, and Pep Guardiola’s men now have a two-point lead.

In the final matchday, Arsenal welcome a tricky Everton to the Emirates Stadium, hoping to scrape three points and for City to somehow slip up against West Ham United.

Interestingly, facing Sean Dyche is a banana peel for Arteta, who has won just two of his eight games against the Englishman (D3, L3). 

One of those wins came in the first game of this season, with Leandro Trossard scoring the lone goal of the 1-0 win for Arsenal.

Arsenal will also be wary of their recent record against the Toffees, winning just four of their last ten meetings (D1, L5).

The Gunners have fought the good fight but have found a formidable foe that has refused to stay down. City have won 18 of their 22 games since losing to Villa in December (D4).

Guardiola is on the hunt for his record fourth consecutive PL title with City as he looks to cement his legacy as one of the greatest managers ever in English football. 

Not even the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson managed that hot streak, and it speaks volumes to the excellent work Guardiola has done with the Cityzens.

He has turned them into ruthless, dominant, and all-conquering juggernauts, imbuing them with a championship mentality. They show no nerves when the spotlight is on.

City started the season characteristically slowly, wobbling in the middle part before building momentum and steaming to the top of the log. We have seen this script play out several times.

Now, their fate is in their hands. A win against West Ham will bring them their tenth league title, closing in on Arsenal’s record (13).

City have been in this unique situation before. In the 2021/22 season, they needed a win on matchday 38 against Villa to stave off Liverpool and clinch the title.

Villa raised Liverpool’s hopes by racing to a 2-0 lead, but City turned the game around with Ilkay Gundogan coming off the bench to bag a brace, including a dying-minute winner that sealed the title.

They have the mentality and the resolve to claim this title comfortably on Sunday, and their record against the Hammers will give them all the confidence heading into the tie.

City have not lost to West Ham since 2015, winning 13 of their last 16 match-ups (D3). Expect City to beat the Hammers, who are currently on wretched form, having won just one of their past five games (D1, L3).

The Hammers have recently lost 5-2 to Crystal Palace, got dismantled 5‐0 by Chelsea and lost 2-0 at home against Fulham.

City will likely come out on top in this title race, but could there be a tide-turning upset at the Etihad Stadium? It would be quite the tale.

The race for top four

Villa secured fourth place and a spot in the Champions League next season with a 3-3 draw against Liverpool. It was also thanks to City’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. 

The Villains came back from 3-1 down to claim a draw against the Reds, putting a five-point gap between themselves and Tottenham.

Manager Unai Emery has received plaudits for a spectacular turnaround job in Birmingham after rescuing Villa from the brink of a relegation battle under Steven Gerrard.

Emery took Villa up to seventh on the table, securing a place in the Europa Conference League before leading them back to the Champions League for the first time since the 1982/83 season this term.

Villa have achieved that feat by playing an exciting brand of football, with talisman Ollie Watkins spearheading their charge with 19 goals and 13 assists.

The battle with Spurs for the UCL spot was tight, but they edged out the North London side to the coveted spot.

Spurs only have themselves to blame for missing out on UCL football.  Villa were not in the best recent form, failing to win any of their last three games. 

They recorded only two wins in their past seven, but Tottenham lost five out of their six matches, failing to take advantage of Villa’s situation.

Spurs have dropped to fifth on the league table, and even that spot is unsure with resurgent Chelsea breathing down their necks.

Tottenham need a win from their final game against relegated Sheffield United to secure a fifth-place finish, closing the curtains on an anticlimactic season.

Spurs looked like title contenders after the first ten games of the season but have capitulated spectacularly.

Manager Ange Postecoglou has turned to the lazy narrative of Tottenham’s lack of mentality. 

Rather than admit that his tactics fell short, he is towing the familiar line followed by former coaches Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

His ultra-aggressive attacking football was unsustainable across a 38-game season, and he failed to adapt his style to the circumstances. 

He will be desperate for his side to clinch fifth place before resting and regrouping for next season, hopefully with better players to mount a more sustained title challenge.

The relegation wormhole prepares to swallow one final victim

With Burnley and Sheffield United already relegated back to the Championship, 17th-placed Nottingham Forest (29 points) and Luton Town in 18th (26 points) are locked in a battle to beat the drop.

Forest must avoid losing against Burnley to circumvent joining them in the second division, although it would take quite the capitulation to give Luton Town the edge, considering their vastly contrasting goal difference.

The Tricky Trees have a -19 goal difference, which is much healthier than Luton’s -31. 

Despite many neutrals favouring Rob Edwards’ side to stay up, their abysmal record of one win since January 30 has put them in this situation where their fate is out of their hands. 

A win against Fulham may not be enough for them to stay up with Forest in a better position heading into the final matchday.

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