As the Premier League season draws to a close on May 28, the drama and excitement have only continued to increase. Up-and-coming teams like Aston Villa F.C. and Newcastle United F.C. have surged to the top, while more prestigious teams such as Chelsea F.C. and Liverpool F.C. have unexpectedly struggled. The race for the Premier League’s top spot has been one for the ages as Arsenal F.C. and Manchester City F.C. compete for the title. Throughout the season, Arsenal’s young, dynamic team amassed 75 points through 33 games. Led by an exciting attack featuring big names like Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Ødegaard, it seemed as if no defense could withstand Arsenal’s offense. Arsenal was even eight points ahead of last year’s champions Manchester City at the top of the table. However, Arsenal’s dominance faltered in April, opening the month with 2-2 draws to Liverpool and West Ham United F.C., followed by a shocking 3-3 tie to bottom-of-the-league Southampton F.C.
Manchester City capitalized on Arsenal’s poor run and narrowed the gap at the top to just 2 points after cruising to a 4-1 victory against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium this past Wednesday. City came into the game unbeaten since February 5, and they played up to par. This showdown exposed Arsenal's weaknesses and City’s champion mentality. City, in addition to having many world-class players, are led by genius manager Pep Guardiola, who was able to tactically exploit the Gunners. Norwegian striker Erling Haaland scored his 33rd goal of the campaign against Arsenal, breaking the record for most goals in a single season, while Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne provided an assist as well as two goals, including a shot from outside the 18-yard box in the seventh minute. Haaland also supplied two assists, both to De Bruyne. Not once in this game did Arsenal show any signs of resistance; Manchester City dominated from start to finish.
Arsenal did not just lose to Manchester City on Wednesday night, they were left demoralized following the rout. The possibility that Arsenal’s season might end in a Premier League title, their first since 2003–04, took a massive hit, as they have not gotten a win in their past four games and are in desperate need of a turnaround. Now Manchester City have 73 points despite having played two fewer games than Arsenal, setting them up perfectly to take home their ninth Premier League trophy. If both City and Arsenal proceed to win all of their remaining games, then the Manchester-based side will ultimately be crowned champions.
Meanwhile, the race to secure Champions League football for next year has grown more intense. While Arsenal and Manchester City have likely secured the top two spots, the third and fourth place spot could be filled by several teams, including a surprising Newcastle United F.C. team (currently placed third), Manchester United (currently placed fourth), the inconsistent Tottenham Hotspur F.C., or an in-form Aston Villa.
On the other end of the table, Chelsea’s fall from grace has shocked supporters. Chelsea, are on the brink of joining the likes of Southampton, Everton F.C., Leicester City F.C., and Nottingham Forest F.C. in an extremely close relegation battle. Despite spending a combined €600 million during the summer and winter transfer windows, Chelsea have greatly underperformed in the Premier League this season, dropping to twelfth place, only ten points above the relegation zone. The Blues are currently in a period of absolute turmoil after firing Head Coach Thomas Tuchel in September. Tuchel’s replacement, Graham Potter, was a controversial appointment, and many questioned if he could live up to the job. 31 games and only 12 wins later, it was clear that he couldn’t. Potter was fired on April 2, failing to last a full season in charge of Chelsea. Frank Lampard was made interim manager shortly after, in what was another questionable appointment, and he has led Chelsea to five straight losses. Despite having many talented players, it seems as though no manager can get this Chelsea team to perform.
How will the final weeks of the Premier League season play out? Will we see Manchester City crowned champions again? Will Arsenal turn things around and win their first title in 20 years? How will inconsistent teams like Tottenham, Liverpool, and Chelsea finish their respective seasons? This year's Premier League is one like no other, featuring an intense title race, new up-and-coming teams, and disappointment of big club’s subpar play, showing why the Premier League is one of the most exciting and jaw-dropping leagues in all of world football.