Arsenal is determined to win the Premier League this season and make a comeback to the Champions League. The Gunners have taken an eight-point lead at the top of the table after a 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace, although Manchester City, who are in second place, still have a game in hand. With ten games left to play, many believe that Arsenal will not relinquish control of the title race and will go on to win their first league trophy in 19 years. This would be a massive achievement for manager Mikel Arteta, whose side finished fifth last season.
Arsenal was not considered a favorite to win the title this year, as City and Liverpool have dominated in recent campaigns. However, their eight-point lead even compares across Europe as the top divisions enter the business end of the season. The Premier League is among the five best divisions on the continent, alongside Spain’s LaLiga, Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, and France’s Ligue 1.
In 28 games, Arteta’s side has won 22 of them, drawn three and lost three. After crashing out of the Europa League, Arsenal has more time between fixtures than City, who also have the Champions League and FA Cup to contend for. With the two sides set to meet on April 26, that could end up being a potential title decider if City remains in the race.
In Spain, Barcelona is coasting to the La Liga title, which would be their first in four years. Despite financial troubles and allegations of bribery, manager Xavi has brought the good times back to the Nou Camp where previous bosses Ronald Koeman and Quique Setien could not. After beating Real Madrid in a pivotal El Clasico on Sunday, Los Cules are leading their rivals by 12 points at the top of the table with 12 games to go. Losing a grip on the title would be an astonishing decline considering their defensive prowess this campaign, perhaps their most surprising improvement this season having conceded just nine times in the league.
In Italy, Napoli has dominated through the brilliant duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who have 33 Serie A goals between them. It has taken them to the top of the table by a whopping 19 points with the Scudetto all but wrapped up as rivals AC Milan, Inter and Juventus flounder. The usual ‘big three’ in Italy have suffered declines this season with Lazio the closest side to Napoli this year, sitting on 52 points from 27 games with the league leaders on 71. With such a huge edge over the rest of the competition, it is surely only a matter of time before Napoli lifts the trophy – which would be their first since 1990 when Diego Maradona led them to glory.
France and Germany see their top clubs in a spot of trouble – particularly the latter. Bayern Munich’s defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend saw Borussia Dortmund leapfrog them into top spot and sit ahead by a point. The two sides meet when the international break is over in two weeks time in Der Klassiker, perhaps one of the biggest in Dortmund’s recent history with a chance to make a stamp on the title race. A win would see them go four points clear of Bayern with 10 games to go, so there would be plenty of work left to do before going on to lift the title. Doing so would hand them their first Bundesliga title in 11 years, which was also the last time Bayern did not win the league in one of Europe’s least-contended divisions.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is finding their grip on Ligue 1 shaking somewhat after a shock 2-0 defeat to Rennes at home on Saturday. They still have a healthy seven-point lead over second-placed Marseille, whose own antics on and off the pitch mean consistency is a foreign concept. But the ongoing soap opera at Parc des Princes means they are always on the brink of a crisis with their early exit from the Champions League sowing seeds of discontent rather than unifying the squad. It would still be a huge shock for PSG to give up the Ligue 1 race but, ultimately, the league is hardly a priority for the Qatari owners at the club. With Bayern Munich swatting them aside in Europe, the French giants effectively saw their season end early.
As a result, Arsenal is slap-bang in the middle of the title-challengers table, behind Napoli and Barcelona but edging PSG and Dortmund, on points ahead of the competition. Whether Arsenal goes on to win the Premier League remains to be seen but Arteta can still point towards an incredible mark in progression no matter what happens. History would suggest that the title is in the bag but with City, Chelsea and Liverpool to play in the coming weeks, Arsenal cannot afford to take their eye off the ball.