Sports, Football

Arsenal ready for title push, City face Liverpool test

Published : 31 Mar 2023 09:35 PM

Arsenal enter the final furlong of the Premier League title race with a clash against Leeds on Saturday as they bid to be crowned champions for the first time in 19 years.

Second-placed Manchester City cannot afford to stumble in a marquee match-up against Liverpool, while the battle to avoid relegation is heating up.

With 10 games to play, Arsenal are in pole position to win their first title since 2004 after reeling off six successive victories to build an eight-point lead over Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta's side have played a game more than the champions and still have to travel to Manchester to face Pep Guardiola's team on April 26, but they have the destiny of the title firmly in their grasp.

Few would have expected Arsenal to be so close to glory after they blew their attempt to finish in the top four last season.

Arteta has worked wonders with a humble squad short of superstars but filled with team-first workaholics who buy into their manager's desire to have a group of players who enjoy being around each other.

"We have the right level of competition and cooperation because they really want to help each other, but they have to challenge each other as well," Arteta said ahead of Leeds' visit to north London on Saturday.

"The secret is probably the unity and togetherness that they have between them.

"They love to spend time with each other, they love to play with each other. That's very powerful."

Manchester City are refusing to surrender their crown without a fight, winning their past six games in all competitions and scoring a combined 13 goals in their most recent matches against Leipzig and Burnley.

But there is little margin for error in City's attempt to clinch a fifth title in six seasons.

Pep Guardiola's men have a slightly easier run-in than Arsenal on paper, yet also have the distractions of a Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich and an FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United.

For City to stay in touch with Arsenal, they must beat sixth-placed Liverpool in the league for the first time in two years -- Jurgen Klopp's men still harbour hopes of salvaging a dismal season by sneaking into the top four.

City may have to face Liverpool without star striker Erling Haaland, who missed Norway's recent internationals with a groin injury.