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Liverpool’s plunge leaves Arsenal and Man City locked in epic Premier League title race

A breathless battle for Premier League supremacy in 2023/24 was supposed to be a three-way title race until the final weekend.

However, Liverpool’s unfathomable drop-off down the final stretch has set up a head-to-head duel between last season’s runners-up Arsenal and perennial champions Manchester City

With the Reds seemingly out of the frame, the title quest will go down to the wire, as only one point separates the leading duo heading into the last three rounds.  

Detrimental week for Liverpool

The writing was on the wall when bottom-half Crystal Palace stunned Anfield in mid-April, but everyone thought it was just a one-off, expecting Liverpool to undo the damage at the backend of the season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side lived up to expectations in the follow-up, easing past mid-table Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage, but a disaster was waiting in the wings. 

Not since 2010 had Liverpool lost an away league match against Everton before Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin inspired the Toffees to a 2-0 win in last midweek’s Merseyside derby. 

An infamous collapse at Goodison Park was the beginning of the end, with a 2-2 draw at West Ham United on Saturday putting the final nail in the Reds’ coffin. 

Liverpool were in contention for a coveted quadruple as early as mid-March, but one of the most promising-looking campaigns in the club’s recent history has fallen apart in less than two weeks

With nine points left in play, Liverpool’s five-point deficit on table-topping Arsenal looks unattainable, meaning Klopp will have to settle for the League Cup trophy in his swansong season.

Title credentials confirmed

On the same day Palace left Anfield victorious, Arsenal fans had a sense of deja vu after their bid to end a two-decade Premier League title drought fell into pieces at the tail-end of last season.

Aston Villa shocked the Emirates Stadium with a 2-0 triumph, fuelling subversive talks over the Gunners’ long-standing ‘loser mentality.’

However, Mikel Arteta’s side have refused to let that result stand in the way of their effort to better last season’s second-place finish, going from strength to strength to prove they are title material.

They have since won all three league outings, including back-to-back London derby victories against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur by a combined score of 8-2.

Next in line is a home clash against Bournemouth before a season-defining trip to Old Trafford to take on European hopefuls Manchester United in the penultimate round. 

Arsenal must hold up their end of the bargain in the last three matchdays and hope someone can knock Man City off their perch to cancel out their game in hand and hand them a crucial boost. 

Been there, done that

Man City are in familiar territory as we enter the business end of the season. 

Known for their stampedes form in season finales, Pep Guardiola’s title defenders come into their last four Premier League fixtures on a five-game winning league run.

The Cityzens’ best performances often come when the stakes are high and the margin for error is thin, as evidenced by their stellar final sprints in the last three years. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham are the remaining obstacles between Man City and an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title. 

Five triumphs in the last six seasons testify to their winning mentality and best summarise their tag as clear-cut favourites to deny Arsenal a long-awaited success.

Guardiola is a serial winner and it’s almost impossible to bet against him in high-stakes moments, especially now that he could write his name in the Premier League history books. 

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