An exciting Premier League weekend has seen Chelsea remain the league leaders with a victory at Manchester City. Here, James Cartwright looks ahead to how the title race may shape up come 2017.
1st – Chelsea (49 points)
Chelsea’s remaining fixtures for 2016 look very favourable, with arguably their hardest game coming this weekend when they host West Brom. The Baggies are seventh in the league after winning two of their last three games. Given the match is taking place at Stamford Bridge and West Brom have won one away game this season, it is difficult to see them picking anything up there. After that, the Blues travel to Sunderland and Crystal Palace before hosting Bournemouth and Stoke City.
2nd – Liverpool (45 points)
Despite their defeat to Bournemouth, the wheels are not about to fall off Liverpool’s title ambitions yet. This weekend they should get back on track as they host West Ham. The hapless hammers are a defensive calamity, and that should be taken advantage of by Liverpool’s clinical attack. The Reds then make two away trips to Middlesbrough and Everton. Taking into account Middlesbrough’s poor home form and Liverpool’s general dominance against Everton, they should pick up two wins. On New Year’s Eve, three massive points could be in the offing when they host Manchester City. Liverpool have a good track record against City and are playing much more convincing football. If pressured to pick a winner, it would be Liverpool by a narrow margin.
3rd – Arsenal (44 points)
Arsenal should be able to keep pace with the top two by winning out their final home games against Stoke City, West Brom and Crystal Palace. On the road, it is reasonable to believe they will win at Everton and have enough to pick up a point at Manchester City. Although, if Sanchez turns up as he did against West Ham, it could be even better for the Gunners.
4th – Tottenham Hotspur (40 points)
Making up the top four are Tottenham, who are predicted to win four of their last five games before the new year. This weekend at Manchester United should see them pick up at least a point. Spurs are a more solid side than United and given they almost picked up a point at Chelsea last weekend, they can most definitely replicate their yield at Old Trafford. Later, they face two of the easiest games of the season as they host Hull City and Burnley. Anything less than six points in those two games and whispers of title ambitions are all but extinguished.