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Premier League

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

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Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - April 6, 2024 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and his players applaud their fans after the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

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.

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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% likely to win a fourth successive title, according to Opta. That has now increased to 40.6%. Arsenal’s title-winning chance is 30.3% with Liverpool slipping from favourites to third at 29.1% — a 15.9% 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.

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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 Juergen 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.

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-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Premier League

Anthony Martial confirms departure from Manchester United

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Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of June, the Frenchman said on May 27.

The 28-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from AS Monaco in 2015 and has since scored 90 goals in 317 games for the Red Devils.

The departure was expected, as he had struggled with injuries in recent seasons and had not been in the squad for months.

He not in the team for the 2-1 FA Cup final victory against Manchester City on May 25.

“It’s with great emotion that I write to you today to say goodbye. After nine incredible years at the club, the time has come for me to turn a new page in my career,” he said on Instagram.

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“You have been an unwavering support, through the good times and the difficult. Your passion and loyalty have been a constant source of motivation for me.”

French defender Raphael Varane also stated he would leave United earlier in May.

-Reuters

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Thomas Tuchel believes he’s new Man Utd manager

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Former PSG, Chelsea and Bayern Munich manager, Thomas Tuchel who is one of those being touted as possible replacement for sack-threatened Erik ten Hag has spoken out that he believes he will be Manchester United next manager.

According to different sources in Europe, the 50-year old German  reckons he is already nailed on for the job.

Hag who led Manchester United to a dramatic FA Cup win over city rivals, Manchester United on Saturday will officially learn his fate in the coming week.

Reports in Germany claim that theTuchel turned down the chance to remain in charge of Bayern Munich  because he wants another crack at the English Premier League by succeeding Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Bayern announced that Tuchel was leaving the club after it became clear that Bayer Leverkusen would be crowned Bundesliga champions. But the Bavarian club then decided to perform a U-turn by offering to hand him a new contract to stay in charge.

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They were shocked when Tuchel turned down the proposal – and the suggestion in Munich is that he believes United have identified him as the man to replace Ten Hag.

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Premier League breaks new scoring record after last-day goal spree

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Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 19, 2024 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Thirty seven goals hit the back of Premier League nets in Sunday’s finale making it officially the highest-scoring season since the competition started in 1992.

The 380 matches produced 1,246 goals at more than three per game — eclipsing the previous best of 1,222 in the inaugural Premier League season when there were two extra clubs.

Manchester City topped the scoring charts as they won an unprecedented fourth title in succession, their 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Sunday taking their tally to 96.

Runners-up Arsenal managed 91 with Liverpool 86 and Newcastle United their best-ever Premier League haul of 85.

Bottom club Sheffield United concluded the season with a 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, meaning they conceded 104 in the campaign — a Premier League record.

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-Reuters

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