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Premier League title race enters decisive phase

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Premier League title race enters decisive phase

With the Premier League title race reaching its climax, attention turns to the crucial remaining fixtures that will determine the destiny of the 2023–24 season.

As 20 teams gear up for the final sprint, analysis reveals intriguing insights into who holds the advantage and who faces an uphill battle in the pursuit of glory.

The race among the current top four contenders showcases a tight battle, highlighting the competitive nature of the league.

With just eight points separating table leader Liverpool, boasting 67 points, from Aston Villa, holding firm with 56 points, every match becomes pivotal in determining the ultimate outcome of the season.

In a season characterised by its unpredictability, the presence of game-in-hand fixtures has emerged as a crucial factor in the English Premier League standings.
Premier League title race outstanding games

Notably, while most teams are contending with one extra match to be played, Chelsea stands alone with the rare advantage of having two.

Among the clubs yet to fully capitalise on this opportunity are Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Newcastle, Brighton, Wolves, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Everton, and Sheffield, all awaiting their respective additional matches to potentially shift the balance of power.

Currently, only Aston Villa, West Ham, Fulham, Brentford, Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, and Burnley have completed 30 games, providing them with a clearer picture of their standing as they navigate the final stretch of the season.

As the league approaches its climax, the significance of these remaining fixtures cannot be overstated, with every point potentially altering the trajectory of teams’ aspirations and determining their fate in the race for glory.
Last 10 Premier League winners

In the last ten seasons, Manchester City has won the Premier League title six times, Chelsea twice, and Liverpool and Leicester City have won it once each.

On Sunday, Liverpool beat Brighton to go top of the EPL table.

Manchester City failed to break down Arsenal as a highly-anticipated clash at the top of the Premier League failed to live up to the hype in a 0-0 draw at the Etihad on Sunday.

Liverpool seizes a crucial advantage with the most favourable remaining fixtures among title contenders.

Despite facing relatively tough schedules, all three contenders brace themselves for a nail-biting conclusion, hinting at twists and turns that could shape the final outcome of the season.

The run-in officially starts here, with the remaining fixtures set to decide who wins the 2023/24 Premier League title, who qualifies for Europe, and who avoids relegation.

So, with just nine matchweeks left, which teams have the “best” and “worst” fixtures?

PUNCH Online delves into the average points total of the remaining opponents for every team, unveiling insights into which clubs are poised for a late-season surge towards glory and which ones confront a formidable challenge to conclude the campaign on a high note.

According to data obtained from the Premier League website, the average points of the remaining opponents for Premier League teams vary significantly, offering insights into the challenges they may face in the run-in.

At the lower end of the spectrum, Newcastle has the most favourable average point of 33.5, followed closely by Everton at 34.2 and Brentford and Nottingham Forest sharing 35.4.

As the scale progresses, Burnley stands at 35.8, Fulham at 35.9, and Sheffield United at 37.0.

Manchester United also shares this average, indicating a moderate challenge ahead.

Moving up, Chelsea sits at 38.0, followed by Spurs at 38.8 and Liverpool at 38.9, showcasing a tougher road for these title contenders.

Further up, Bournemouth faces an average of 39.1 points, while Manchester City have 41.0 and Wolves have 41.5.

Arsenal, in pursuit of title aspirations, contends with an average of 42.3 points among its opponents.

West Ham and Luton share an average of 43.2, while Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, and Brighton face the toughest challenges with averages of 44.8, 44.9, and 45.1 points, respectively.

Title race fixtures club average

By implication, Newcastle United enjoys the easiest remaining schedule with an average of 33.5 points among their upcoming opponents, akin to facing a 14th-placed team in each match.

Conversely, Brighton & Hove Albion faces the toughest fixtures, with their opponents averaging 45.1 points, resembling matches against seventh-placed sides.

In the title race and before Sunday’s game, Liverpool enjoys the most favourable fixtures among the top three contenders, with their opponents averaging 38.9 points.

On the other hand, Arsenal face the toughest challenge, with their opponents averaging 42.3 points, slightly more daunting than those of third-placed Manchester City (41.0).

 

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European Leagues

Belgium: Onyedika scores again as Club Brugge thrash Antwerp

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Belgium: Onyedika scores again as Club Brugge thrash Antwerp

Nigeria midfielder Raphael Onyedika was on target for the second consecutive game as Club Brugge defeated Royal Antwerp 3-0 on Sunday.

Onyedika opened the scoring for Club Brugge one minute before the break.

The 22-year-old has now scored three goals in his last two games for the former Belgian Pro League champions.

Onyedika was in action for 90 minutes in the game.

The former FC Midtjylland star will however miss Club Brugge’s next game against Union St Gilloise after picking his third yellow card of the play-offs.

His compatriots, Alhassan Yusuf and Chidera Ejuke were in action for Royal Antwerp in the game.

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EPL: Iwobi grabs assist in Fulham’s win at West Ham

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EPL: Iwobi grabs assist in Fulham’s win at West Ham

Alex Iwobi registered an assist as Fulham defeated West Ham United at the London Stadium.

Iwobi set up Andreas Pereira for the Whites second goal of the game in the 72nd minute.

It was the Nigeria international’s third assist in the Premier League this season.

The midfielder has also scored five goals.

Iwobi was replaced by Harry Wilson in the 74th minute.

His compatriot Calvin Bassey also put up a solid display for Fulham.

Bassey was in action for 90 minutes in the game.

 

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European Leagues

Serie A: Osimhen on target but not enough as Napoli slip at Frosinone

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Serie A: Osimhen on target but not enough as Napoli slip at Frosinone

Napoli’s slim chances of Champions League football were dealt another blow on Sunday after a 2-2 home draw in their Serie A match with struggling Frosinone.

Walid Cheddira’s first brace in Italy’s top flight earned a point for Frosinone in Naples.

It left ailing Italian champions Napoli in eighth, six points behind fifth-placed Roma, who can extend their advantage when they face Udinese later on Sunday.

Italian clubs’ strong performances in European football mean a top-five finish in Serie A is almost certain to gain a spot in the Champions League.

Napoli are increasingly unlikely to be among that group, and were booed off the pitch at a sparsely-populated Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Francesco Calzona’s side looked set for sixth place when Victor Osimhen diverted home Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s mishit shot in the 63rd minute.

Instead Cheddira, who had previously levelled Matteo Politano’s stunning early opener after the away side were gifted possession by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret, headed home his second 10 minutes after Osimhen’s strike.

Frosinone stay just inside the bottom three and level on 27 points with 17th-placed Verona, who are outside the relegation zone on goal difference and face Atalanta on Monday.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s team deserved the draw from an eventful game in which Meret initially looked to be the hero after he saved Matias Soule’s penalty on the half-hour mark.

Frosinone have only won one league match since late November but successive draws with Genoa, fourth-placed Bologna and now Napoli have boosted their hopes of staying up.

Later Inter Milan host Cagliari at the San Siro, where a win will guarantee an opportunity to seal their 20th league title in the Milan derby on Monday week.

Inter are a whopping 14 points ahead of closest challengers AC Milan, who are at Sassuolo on Sunday.

Beating Cagliari will ensure the derby will be a chance for Inter to claim the Scudetto regardless of how Milan do in their match.

 

 

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