Computers say Arsenal won't win title, on the pitch they look like champions in waiting

football08 April 2024 12:00| © AFP
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The super computers and number crunchers still don't fancy Arsenal's chances of winning a compelling three-way Premier League title race despite, on current form, the London club being the best team in England.

Twelve months ago Arsenal were gobbled up by a relentless Manchester City in a two-horse race, but this time Mikel Arteta's side are showing absolutely no sign of flinching and lead Liverpool on goal difference and City by one point.

They have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League games with the only dropped points coming in a masterful 0-0 draw at champions Manchester City that was concrete proof of how much they improved from last year's model.

Arsenal have scored 20 times in their last five away league games in which they conceded not a single goal.

They wear the confident look of champions elect but there are caveats, notably a seven-game run in that looks tougher than Liverpool's and Manchester City's with matches against Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Premier League data analysts Opta ran the likely scenarios through their computer after Liverpool's 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Sunday and come up with a conclusion that will not be comforting for Arsenal fans.

In fact the weekend's matches, which began with City's 4-2 win at Crystal Palace and included Arsenal's superlative 3-0 win away at Brighton and Hove Albion appear to have skewed the title race firmly in favour of Pep Guardiola's City.

Before the weekend City were 33.6 per cent likely to win a fourth successive title, according to Opta. That has now increased to 40.6 per cent. Arsenal's title-winning chance is 30.3 per cent with Liverpool slipping from favourites to third at 29.1 per cent – a 15.9 per cent drop from before the last round of fixtures.

A look at the remaining fixtures explains why City are marginally the more likely to prevail in the tightest three-way title duel since City edged out a stumbling Liverpool and Chelsea by two and four points respectively in 2013-14.

Six of City's last seven games are against Luton Town (h), Brighton and Hove Albion (a), Nottingham Forest (a), Wolverhampton Wanderers (h), Fulham (a) and West Ham United (h) with their biggest test being a trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Arsenal host fifth-placed Aston Villa on Saturday before Wolves (a), Chelsea (h), Tottenham (a), Bournemouth (h), Manchester United (a) and Everton (h).

Liverpool face Crystal Palace (h), Fulham (a), Everton (a), West Ham (a), Tottenham (h), Aston Villa (a) and Wolves (h).

While the algorithms still favour City, Arsenal's hopes of a first league title in 20 years are boosted by a far superior goal difference compared to their two rivals.

In a race that looks like going to the wire, that could be crucial, although Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp knows there will be many more twists and turns to come.

"I knew it would be super tricky until the end. Until yesterday we were top, now it's Arsenal and – I don't know when – then it may be somebody else," he said.