Predicting Where the ‘Big Six’ Will Actually End Up in the Premier League Based on Remaining Games

The international break might be here, but there can be no doubting that the only football that people are truly looking forward to is how the business end of the Premier League seasons pans out.

In one of the most exciting and cut-throat title fights in recent years, Liverpool and Manchester City continue to set the league alight with a remarkable back-and-forth contest. Below them is an equally enticing top-four race, with Tottenham’s dramatic slump in form seeing them nervously looking behind their backs.

Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are all battling out for the two places remaining in the coveted Champions League spots, and each side can all make a genuine case for doing so.

With the disclaimer that I don’t have a mystic ball, below is a look at where the Premier League’s famed ‘big six’ might actually end up when it’s all said and done come 12 May.


6) Chelsea – 71 Points

Eden Hazard

​After a shock 2-0 defeat to Everton just before the international break, ​Chelsea missed the opportunity to go level on points with Arsenal in the hunt for a top four spot. Maurizio Sarri’s side have struggled to adapt to their new manager’s methods and out of the current top six, are perhaps the side looking the least likely to go on a significant winning run in the latter stages.

Even more importantly for the Blues was the kind Europa League draw they received for the quarter-finals, with the relatively less-fancied Slavia Prague. With a potential route into the Champions League next season coming via a triumph in this year’s Europa League, Sarri’s side may well ease off in the ​Premier League and put all their eggs in one basket. 

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 57)
​Cardiff (A) ​W 2-0 ​60
​Brighton (H) ​W 3-0 ​63
​West Ham (H) ​D 2-2 ​64
​Liverpool (A) ​L 2-1 ​64
​Burnley (H) ​W 2-0 ​67
​Manchester United (A) ​D 1-1 ​68
​Watford (H) ​W 3-1 ​71
​Leicester (A) ​L 2-1 ​71


5) Manchester United – 73 Points

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After a simply stunning run of form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge, ​United were brought back down to Earth when they fell to a 2-0 defeat to top-four rivals Arsenal at the Emirates. That was then followed up with the Red Devils crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals in fairly meek fashion to Wolves, and may just be thankful that the international break has come up.

If United can stay injury-free, and that’s a big if, then Solskjaer’s side have every chance of going on another incredible winning run to finish in the top four. Their Premier League destiny undoubtedly rests upon their fixtures in April which read – Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Everton (A), Man City (H) and Chelsea (H). 

Those games also include a two-legged quarter-final against Barcelona in the Champions League sandwiched between them. The City and Chelsea games look particularly pivotal to their chances of finishing in the top four; win both and they should get there, drop points in both and that could well be the end.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 58)
​Watford (H) ​W 3-1 ​61
​Wolves (A) ​D 1-1 ​62
​West Ham (H) ​W 2-0 ​65
​Everton (A) ​L 2-1 ​65
​Manchester City (H) ​D 2-2 ​66
​Chelsea (H) ​D 1-1 ​67
​Huddersfield (A) ​W 3-0 ​70
​Cardiff (H) ​W 4-0 ​73


4) Arsenal – ​76 Points

Granit Xhaka,Alexandre Lacazette,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Having suffered back-to-back defeats in their opening two games to both Manchester City and Chelsea, who would have predicted Unai Emery’s first season in charge of ​Arsenal would see them in the top four in the middle of March and in the quarter-finals of the Europa League? The Gunners have showcased that at home they are a formidable opposition, and in beating Manchester United, saw them leapfrog the Red Devils and into fourth.

That game against Solskjaer’s side was Arsenal’s last fixture against another member of the ‘big six’ and on paper, they have the best run-in towards the end of the season. However, their biggest issue lies in the away-heavy nature of their remaining games. After facing Newcastle at the Emirates when the clubs return from the international break, Emery’s side face five away games in their final seven. 

To add a little context, the Gunners have won just the one away fixture since December. If their Spanish boss can get their away form alive and kicking then the Gunners are well placed to make their return to the Champions League; if they can’t, then they will have nobody but themselves to blame.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 60)
​Newcastle (H) W ​3-1 ​63
​Everton (A) D ​2-2 ​64
​Watford (A) L ​1-2 ​64
​Crystal Palace (H) W ​2-0 ​67
​Wolves (A) L ​2-1 ​67
​Leicester (A) W ​2-1 ​70
​Brighton (H) W ​3-0 ​73
​Burnley (A) ​W 2-0 ​76


3) Tottenham – 77 Points

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​Out of all the sides in the ‘big six’ desperate for the international break, Mauricio Pochettino’s men needed it most. After being considered a dark horse in the title race just a month ago, a run of wretched ‘Spursy’ form has seen them fall out of contention for the league title, and more worryingly, looking over their shoulders to just stay in the top four. The north Londoners lie just three points above fifth-placed Manchester United, and still have to face both Liverpool and Manchester City in their remaining games.

An even bigger X-factor comes in the shape of their new stadium; set to be officially opened next month, ​Spurs could very well feed off the incredible atmosphere at their new ground and propel themselves back into winning form. Or, trying to adjust mid-season with a stadium move could prove to be too much too soon, and see them slip out of the top four altogether. 

Pochettino’s side also have the added element of their Champions League quarter-final with Manchester City as well, and that could prove to be a potentially season-defining ‘distraction’ for a set of players whose mentality has already been called into question in recent years.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 61)
​Liverpool (A) ​L 3-1 ​61
​Crystal Palace (H) ​W 2-1 ​64
​Huddersfield (H) ​W 3-0 ​67
​Manchester City (A) ​L 2-0 ​67
​Brighton (H) ​W 2-0 ​70
West Ham (H) W 2-1 ​73
​Bournemouth (A) ​D 2-2 ​74
​Everton (H) ​W 2-1 ​77


2) Liverpool – 93 Points

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Two points clear of Manchester City (having played a game more), and a plum Champions League tie against Porto, it is all set up for ​Liverpool to have a truly legendary season. Jurgen Klopp’s men missed out on both last year, but have kept up the pace this season, and ​it would be truly heart-breaking for the passionate Anfield faithful to slip up once more. No pun intended.

The Reds’ most difficult fixtures come in the shape of Tottenham and Chelsea at home, and if the title race does come down to the final day, then they face a potentially trick clash against Wolves, who have been notoriously good against the division’s best sides this season.

As it always does when it comes to titles and trophies, it will come down to who can hold their nerve better. The Reds certainly have the technical quality to do so, and in Virgil van Dijk have a real leader at the back. Klopp’s biggest concern might be the allure and possible distraction of another Champions League final, and whether that might just take their eye off the ball in the league. 

The Reds face Porto, Chelsea and then Porto again in the space of eight days, and that one week will no doubt shape their destiny in the Premier League and in Europe.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 76)
​Tottenham (H) ​W 3-1 ​79
​Southampton (A) ​D 2-2 ​80
​Chelsea (H) W ​2-1 ​83
​Cardiff (A) W ​4-1 ​86
​Huddersfield (H) W​4-0 ​89
​Newcastle(A) D​1-1 ​90
​Wolves(H) ​W2-1 ​93


1) Manchester City – 96 Points

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-WATFORD

The quadruple is well and truly on. City boss Pep Guardiola has done his best to downplay things at the Etihad, but with a Carabao Cup triumph under their belts, and ‘favourable’ draws in both the FA Cup and Champions League, the side could achieve something historic. 

The Citizens currently find themselves two points behind leaders Liverpool, but with a game in hand. Their biggest week of the season comes in mid-April when after facing Tottenham at home in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, they host Pochettino’s side again just three days later, before rounding off a seismic few days with the small matter of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

Just as with Liverpool, how big a part will European commitments play on the nature of their Premier League performances? Certainly, City have more of a squad for Guardiola to choose from than his German counterpart at Anfield, but will the pressure of being favourites in almost all the competitions they’re involved in eventually take its toll? 

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 74)
​Fulham (A) ​ W 0-3 ​77
​Cardiff (H) W 5-0​ ​80
​Crystal Palace (A) W ​2-1 ​83
​Tottenham (H) ​W 2-0 ​86
​Manchester United (A) ​D 2-2 ​87
​Burnley (A) W 1-0 ​90
​Leicester (H) W ​3-1 ​93
​Brighton (A) ​W 3-1 ​96

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Arsenal Monitoring Charlton Star Joe Aribo With View for Free Transfer in Summer

​Arsenal are the latest side to express their interest in Charlton Athletic midfielder Joe Aribo, and the Gunners are eyeing a cut-price move for the 22-year-old at the end of the season.

Aribo’s current deal at אhe Valley expires at the end of the season, and the powerful midfielder looks set to leave the Addicks in search of a new challenge.


News of ​Arsenal’s interest in the 22-year-old comes from ​The Mirror, who note that the Gunners have sent scouts to watch Aribo on a number of occasions this season.

A tall midfielder with an eye for goal, Aribo has been one of Charlton’s standout performers this season, chipping in with six goals and two assists in 26 appearances. He has been a vital part of their rise to fifth in League One, and the Addicks will be eyeing promotion to the ​Championship in the coming months.

Aribo was offered a new deal last summer, but the club withdrew their offer and made him a new proposal, but with half the proposed salary of the previous deal. The Englishman rejected the offer, and now looks set to move on to pastures new next season.


​Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt are said to be keen on a move for Aribo, as well as Benfica, but Arsenal are hoping to win the race for his signature and keep the youngster in England. Due to his age, Charlton would be due a small compensation fee if he does leave the club, but this will likely be a fraction of any potential transfer fee.

Aribo’s physicality and goalscoring prowess has drawn comparisons to ​Tottenham Hotspur star ​Dele Alli, who spent many years with Milton Keynes Dons in League One before seamlessly transitioning to life in the ​Premier League.

Dele Alli

Whether he would be part of Arsenal’s first-team immediately remains to be seen, although Unai Emery will be on the lookout for a goalscoring midfielder to replace ​Juventus-bound ​Aaron Ramsey. 

The Spaniard has shown no reluctance to play young players from lower leagues, with Matteo Guendouzi moving from the French Ligue 2 straight to the Premier League last summer. 

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Arsenal Consider Move for Argentinian Centre-Back Walter Kannemann to Bolster Ageing Defence

Arsenal are reportedly following the progress of Argentinian centre-back Walter Kannemann after a string of successful club appearances for Gremio has led to a national team call-up in recent months. 

Unai Emery wants to add another defender to the mix despite just signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos last summer for a reported £17.6m. There have been growing concerns in north London over a lack of depth at the centre-back position with Shkodran Mustafi being criticised of late for his recent performances and Laurent Koscielny turning 34-years-old in September.

FBL-ARG-VEN-FRIENDLY

Known as ‘the Viking’, Kannemann is a tough-tackling, naturally left-sided centre-back who understands his position on the pitch and can react at a moment’s notice. The 28-year-old is good in the air and also provides a bit of pace when needed. First reported by the Daily Mail, Kannemann has a release clause of around £10.2m and Arsenal see the 28-year-old as a perfect candidate to bring in without having to break the bank. 

The Gunners aren’t the only club tracking the Argentine’s recent form with several clubs in South America, England, and Spain all keeping an eye on the 28-year-old. It is believed that Independiente, Flamengo and Boca Juniors have all inquired about Kannemann, but would struggle to meet the players’ valuation. Atletico are particularly attracted to the defender as Diego Simeone previously coached him during his time at San Lorenzo in Argentina. 

Arsenal are also one of the contenders to sign fellow Argentine defender Nicolas Tagliafico from Ajax in the summer and if the Gunners can secure both signings they will add depth to their ageing defence for a relatively good bargain. 

Walter Kannemann

The Gunners continue their fight for a Champions League spot as they take on Newcastle United in the Premier League on the first day of April following the current international break. 

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Chelsea, Arsenal and Roma Linked With Moves for Lille Sporting Director Luis Campos

​Chelsea, Arsenal and Roma are all reportedly hopeful of hiring Lille sporting director Luis Campos during the summer. 

The Premier League sides will face stiff competition from Serie A team Roma for Campos’ services, following his role in Lille’s impressive domestic campaign this season with the club currently sitting in second in Ligue 1 and looking likely to qualify for the Champions League. 

Lille’s performances have been seen as mightily impressive considering the French side only avoided the relegation play-off last season by a single point.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-LILLE-NICE

Campos was also the sporting director at AS Monaco during the 2016/17 season, in which Leonardo Jardim’s pipped Paris Saint Germain to the Ligue 1 title and also progressed to the Champions League semi finals before losing 4-1 on aggregate to ​Juventus.

According to ​TuttoMercatoWeb, the European trio will look to appoint Campos at the end of the season, with ​Arsenal and Roma in particular looking towards the Portuguese after Roma’s former sporting director Monchi left the Italian capital to join Sevilla, favouring the Spanish side over a move to Arsenal.

Ramon Rodriguez Monchi

Campos can also boast a spell as a scout at Spanish giants ​Real Madrid during his career, as well as a stint as a manager at several Portuguese clubs such as Beira-Mar and Gil Vicente.

The 54-year-old is also accredited with the discovery of several well known European talents such as PSG’s ​Kylian Mbappe, ​Manchester United’s ​Anthony Martial and ​Manchester City’s ​Bernardo Silva.

FBL-EUR-C1-MONACO-MAN CITY

Campos’ additions to Lille’s current squad include former ​Southampton players Jose Fonte and Jeremy Pied as well as former ​​Chelsea striker Loic Remy.

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6 Things to Look Out for at Arsenal’s Dubai Training Camp During the International Break

​With the international break now in full swing, the absence of Premier League football has left something of a void in this week’s schedule – but Arsenal are making the most of it.

Unai Emery has taken his side away for a warm weather training camp in Dubai, during which the Gunners will be put through their paces in an alternative environment with the aim of returning in optimal shape ahead of the final stretch of the season.


The north Londoners will hold an open training session and visit some local scenery during their stay, as well as taking on Al Nasr in a friendly match on Tuesday. It means that the international break is far from a week of rest for the Gunners, but one which should prove useful.

Here is a selection of six things to look out for at ​Arsenal’s training camp in Dubai.


Opportunities for Young Stars

As would often be the case during a pre-season tour, Arsenal have included a raft of young players from the Under-23s setup which have seen few opportunities in the first team during the season.

With many senior stars such as ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ​Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis Papastathopoulos all away with their national teams, Emery has filled the gaps in his 23-man squad with young stars including Tyreece John-Jules, Xavier Amaechi and Zech Medley.

FBL-EUR-C3-ARSENAL-QARABAG

With suggestions that young players struggling to get into the first team picture of Premier League clubs could opt to take the ‘Jadon Sancho route’ of moving elsewhere in Europe, this training camp could provide a key opportunity for Arsenal’s youngsters to catch Emery’s eye.


Chance for Fringe Players to Impress

As with the plethora of young stars that have travelled, the absence of many established stars has opened up space for players on the fringes of Emery’s first team to stake their claim.

Carl Jenkinson was expected to move on last summer, but has surprisingly remained part of Emery’s senior setup this term, and has made seven appearances across all competitions. The right back is joined by the likes of Denis Suarez and Konstantinos Mavropanos who are also seeking to impress Emery.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

Mavropanos has shown great promise during the early phases of his Gunners career but has struggled to find consistency in the first team, partly due to injuries, whilst Suarez has had limited impact since arriving on loan from ​Barcelona in January. Both will be keen to prove their worth in Dubai. 


Ozil the Main Man

With the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka absent from the tour, ​Mesut Ozil has a chance to stamp his seniority on the Gunners’ ranks during the training camp.

The mercurial German has fought his way back into favour under Emery in recent weeks, after starting in each of the crucial wins over ​Manchester United and Rennes, having previously appeared out of the picture at the Emirates.


Ozil looks to have adapted to Emery’s methods and is now giving the Spaniard the levels of application and intensity that the head coach demands, and has the opportunity to convince Emery of his importance to his club in Dubai.


Opening of the Al Maktoum Stadium

Aside from Arsenal’s internal affairs, the Gunners will also have the opportunity to make history in Dubai as they open the brand new Al Maktoum Stadium as they take to the field against Al Nasr on Tuesday.

The event will give Emery the chance to raise his players’ fitness levels and to further drill his stars with his demands, but the chance to play in the maiden event at a new venue also raises the profile of the friendly encounter.


Arsenal have a huge overseas following around the world and their participation in such an event further reflects their mighty global standing.


Opportunity to Perfect Emery’s System

In what has been a divisive factor during Emery’s debut campaign as Arsenal’s head coach this term, the Spaniard has often switched formation and rotated his team selection between games.

Some have taken Emery’s changes to reflect a lack of clear direction and identity, whilst others have argued that it has introduced the kind of pragmatism and diligence which has been lacking at the club for many years.


In any case, the 3-4-1-2 system appears to have stuck in recent weeks, providing the necessary defensive stability whilst maintaining plenty of threat in attack. The training camp offers Emery a chance to work on the system more and maximise his players’ functionality in the shape.


Return of Injured Stars

Arsenal have been terribly unfortunate to see three first team stars all ruled out for the season with serious injuries. A knee injury prematurely ended Hector Bellerin’s season in January, whilst ​Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are ruled out through knee and ankle problems respectively.

However, despite all three being highly unlikely to feature for the Gunners again this season, the the trio have travelled with the rest of the squad to take lighter parts in training and to take part in other activities during their time in Dubai.


Arsenal fans will be pleased to see Bellerin, Holding and Welbeck back among the action and in the squad, though their presence on the pitch continues to be missed.


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