Examining the Premier League title race at the halfway point

13 December 2023

Examining the Premier League title race at the halfway point

The festive season in the Premier League is not only a time to celebrate with a lot of quality football. It’s also the time where you look at the standings and start to separate the contenders from the pretenders.

With the halfway point of the season approaching and table starting to take shape, here’s a look at the teams that are getting into the starting blocks for a proper title race. Stream every Premier League game live on Showmax Pro Mobile, courtesy of SuperSport.

The leaders – Liverpool

After the disappointment of dropping out of the coveted top four last season, Liverpool have had a strong start to the season that sees them deservedly top the table.

While they haven’t looked quite at their fluent best in this campaign, they have consistently shown determination and resilience that you would normally associate with Jürgen Klopp’s team.

They’ve won their last three games in a row, they haven’t lost any of their last nine games (the longest current unbeaten streak in the competition) and they’ve only lost once this season away from home to an impressive Tottenham team that was helped by arguably the most controversial VAR incident the Premier League has ever seen.

Manchester United are up next followed by Arsenal after that. If they come through those two unscathed, then they will have a very merry Christmas.

The closest challengers – Arsenal

After pushing Manchester City deep into the season last time out, Arsenal are here to prove that they really are one of the elite Premier League teams again.

It’s not all been plain sailing though. There have been some hard-fought wins along the way (including pipping Luton in a recent seven-goal thriller) and are currently licking their wounds from Saturday’s defeat against Aston Villa.

Their win in October against Manchester City is a result that Mikel Arteta will argue is proof that this side is stronger than last season’s vintage. They lost both fixtures against Pep Guardiola’s team last season, which ended up being critical in a title race where they inevitably fell short by five points.

Saturday will be another chance to prove that they’ve moved on from last season. They’ll host a Brighton team that have remarkably won their last three matches at the Emirates.

If they can pull off a win against the Seagulls and follow it up with victory at Anfield, they’ll guarantee themselves a spot at the top of the tree this Christmas.

The underdogs – Aston Villa

Just when you think Aston Villa’s run can’t continue and they’ll slide down the table soon, their results just get even better.

The revolution under Unai Emery has been remarkable. They’ve just extended their home winning run to 15 straight victories (going back to February) and have just added the scalps of last season’s champions and runners-up in the last two games.

Villa are currently third, two points off the leaders and have shown that they are capable of beating anyone in league. Them being in a title race might still seem unlikely, but they simply can’t be ignored.

Their remaining fixtures in December are Brentford, Sheffield United, Manchester United and Burnley. They really could win all four of those, which would in all likelihood put them at the top of the table going into 2024.

The defending champions – Manchester City

These days, there are two types of Premier League clubs. There are those that are behind City and there are those that are looking at City over their shoulder while worrying about them.

They might be in fourth place now (which is two places lower than this time last season) but they are only four points behind (three points better off than this time last season).

There have been signs of fallibility in this City vintage: an inability to score against Arsenal and Aston Villa, a tendency to get too loose against the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea plus a shock loss against Wolves. They might not quite be the all-conquering juggernaut that they looked like when they won the treble.

You can look for chinks in the armour as much as you like. They are still a squad filled with world class talent, one of the best managers in the history of the sport and they go by a proven winning formula.

Setting a new record of four Premier League wins in a row is still likely, but they’ve never had so many different challengers before.

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