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EPL title race, relegation battle on Christmas Day

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The Premier League has reached a thrilling juncture at Christmas, with Manchester City trailing Arsenal by six points. 

Liverpool, City, still favourite for the title race, remains wide open, with other clubs willing to pull shocking strings.

Here is a brief club-by-club analysis, exploring title contenders, mid-table challenges, and potential relegation struggles.

 

Arsenal:

Arsenal showcased their title credentials with a resilient 1-1 draw at Anfield. The addition of Declan Rice has bolstered their squad, instilling a sense of determination after last season’s near-miss. The Gunners, yearning for their first crown since 2004, appear strong and focused.

 

Aston Villa:

Despite a recent scare against Sheffield United, Aston Villa continues to impress. Led by the influential John McGinn, they boast a solid goalkeeper in Emi Martinez and a prolific scorer in Ollie Watkins. While a top-four finish seems likely, challenging for the title might be a stretch.

 

Bournemouth:

Bournemouth has rebounded with five wins in their last six games, including a remarkable 3-0 triumph at Old Trafford. Manager Andoni Iraola’s high-pressing style has been influential, ensuring they steer clear of the relegation zone.

 

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Brentford:

Brentford faces challenges due to a slew of injuries, notably Ivan Toney’s absence until January 20. Despite this, a comfortable 10-point cushion over the bottom three alleviates the need for panic.

 

Brighton & Hove Albion:

While performing well in Europe, Brighton’s defensive frailties persist, conceding in every game. Manager Roberto De Zerbi aims to optimize their talented squad and address defensive concerns for a stronger second half.

 

Burnley:

Burnley’s recent away win at Fulham signals a potential turning point, but Vincent Kompany must instill a more pragmatic approach for survival.

 

Chelsea:

Chelsea, after a messy year, shows glimpses of improvement with Christopher Nkunku’s return and a Carabao Cup semifinal berth. However, inconsistency, as seen in lackluster performances against Everton and Man United, hampers their top-four aspirations.

 

Crystal Palace:

Amid rumors of a managerial change, Crystal Palace, under Roy Hodgson, aims for a resurgence with key players Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise back fit.

 

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Everton:

Everton’s revival, marked by four wins in five games, reflects Jarrad Branthwaite’s emergence and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s return to form. Manager Sean Dyche deserves credit for changing the team’s mindset.

 

Fulham:

Fulham, thriving under Marco Silva, dispelled concerns following Aleksandar Mitrovic’s departure. Two successive 5-0 wins and a Carabao Cup semifinal place showcase Silva’s impact.

 

Liverpool:

Liverpool, a point off the top, displays resilience despite not hitting peak form. Jurgen Klopp’s team, with notable comebacks, faces challenges, especially with Mohamed Salah set to miss games due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

 

Luton Town:

Despite concerns, Luton Town competes fiercely and adds excitement to the top flight. Their competitive spirit might see them avoid relegation.

 

Manchester City:

City’s triumph in the FIFA Club World Cup adds to their trophy collection, but defensive lapses in the Premier League raise questions. Staying hungry for a fourth consecutive title remains challenging.

 

Manchester United:

Manchester United, weighed down by issues and a negative vibe, appears ordinary. The Ineos takeover might bring needed changes, but Erik Ten Hag must address goal-scoring woes urgently.

 

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Newcastle United:

Newcastle, plagued by injuries, needs a New Year’s charge to avoid regression. Manager Eddie Howe faces challenges in reviving the club’s fortunes.

 

Nottingham Forest:

Nottingham Forest’s gamble with Nuno Espirito Santo follows Steve Cooper’s departure. Squad issues and the absence of top scorer Taiwo Awoniyi pose challenges.

 

Sheffield United:

Chris Wilder’s return injects fight and resilience into Sheffield United. Despite improvements, questions linger over their quality.

 

Tottenham Hotspur:

Tottenham’s fast-flowing football under Ange Postecoglu captivates, but defensive frailties persist. The challenge is to convert popularity into tangible success.

 

West Ham United:

David Moyes’ West Ham, featuring Mohammed Kudus and Lucas Paquetá, showcases flair. Disappointingly, a weakened team in the League Cup quarterfinal dampened their momentum.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Wolves, beating top sides, await Pedro Neto’s return. Unfortunate VAR decisions and poor away form hinder their climb up the table.

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