Tottenham managed a gritty 1-2 away win over Watford on Monday night, thanks to a late (offside) goal from South Korean international Son Heung-Min. The win saw them move third in the table, and it is starting to become apparent that Arsenal’s North London neighbours may pose an actual threat in this season’s race for the title.
Tottenham have quietly gone about their business recently, winning nine of their last 18 Premier League matches. Combined with the fact that they’ve lost just once in that time (via the BBC), means they’ve stealthily moved into third place, just four points behind league leaders Arsenal.
Of the normal title contenders, only Manchester City are still up there with Arsenal this season. Following Chelsea’s spectacular demise and Manchester United’s inability to score goals, the Blues and the Red Devils find themselves in 14th and 6th place respectively.
Manchester United have not won in eight games, a statistic that has the Irish Examiner claiming that Dutch manager Louis van Gaal is still hanging onto his job by a thread – despite a better performance by his team in last night’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The main trouble United have is they cannot score goals, despite ending all their matches as the team that controlled the largest amount of the possession (as per Whoscored).
As things stand it is obvious to anyone who follows Manchester United that the team needs to sign a striker in January, and that LVG made a huge mistake when he let Mexican international Javier Hernandez join Bayer Leverkusen during the summer.
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Now Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is considering making a move for the 27-year-old former Guadalajara striker, after seeing him score 19 goals in 21 appearances for the Bundesliga side this season, according to the Metro
Although everyone is waiting for them to drop off the pace, Leicester City seem to be Arsenal’s biggest threat of winning the title for the first time since 2004. It is hard to imagine a small club like Leicester City going from the Championship to winning the league in such a short time, yet the statistics do not lie. As Sky Sports points out, the only club that did not win the league in the last six seasons after being top at Christmas was Liverpool in 2013/14.
As for Manchester City, the hunger does not appear to be there as it was in the past. Manuel Pellegrini also seems resigned to the fact Pep Guardiola is coming in to replace him, calmly telling the Daily Express ahead of the game which City lost 2-1 to Arsenal: “I repeat what I said last season if something happens in the future I will be the first to know.”
Spurs are flying high though, and their new-found confidence has manager Mauricio Pochettino rushing to play down any talk of winning the title – as the Argentine knows it is better to be the hunter, rather than the team everyone else is hunting.
If Leicester begin to slip down the table as we all expect and Manchester City lose what little hunger their players have left, the title could be decided on Saturday March 5th at White Hart Lane. Tottenham will then play host to an Arsenal side that will still hopefully be focused on making it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League as well as winning the Premier League title.
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Local derbies are always special affairs, but if the top of the table remains as tight as it is now going into the new year, the March matchup between the two North London rivals could decide whether or not Arsenal win the league.
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