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Time running out for Arsenal as Man City hunt Premier League glory

Time running out for Arsenal as Man City hunt Premier League glory

Sports

City are unbeaten against the London side in 21 games in all competitions

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London (AFP) – Arsenal have barely put a foot wrong in the Premier League in 2024 but, as the title race approaches the finish line, they desperately need a favour from Fulham, who host relentless Manchester City this weekend.

Mikel Arteta's Gunners, who travel to Manchester United, are one point clear at the top of the table with two matches to play but Pep Guardiola's men, crucially, have a game in hand.

Nottingham Forest will take a huge step towards safety if they beat in-form Chelsea, who are battling Newcastle and Manchester United for a European spot. AFP Sport looks at three talking points ahead of the action.

Arsenal cling to hope of City slip-up

When the 2023/24 fixture list came out, Sunday's trip to Manchester United would have seemed a tricky task for Arsenal, but it is not looking that way now.

The Gunners, chasing their first Premier League title for 20 years, are likely to have been dislodged from the top of the table by the time they kick off at Old Trafford on Sunday.

That is because second placed City, in the hunt for a historic fourth straight Premier League title, are in action at Fulham the previous day. City are unbeaten against the London side in 21 games in all competitions.

Arsenal will be confident they can beat a spluttering United team, who appear increasingly likely to miss out on European football next season after their embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday.

City's game in hand is next week at Tottenham, where they have never even scored a goal in the league, but Spurs' form has deserted them and Erling Haaland is back to his marauding best.

Arsenal, boasting a superior goal difference, need City to stumble but the signs are not promising.

Newcastle, Chelsea battle for Europe

Newcastle and Chelsea are both making a late-season charge for a European place, helped by Manchester United's slump.

Eddie Howe's Newcastle are in pole position to take either a Europa League or UEFA Conference League spot, depending on results in the last few rounds of the Premier League and in the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United.

They could even finish in fifth spot if Tottenham implode further. Sixth-placed Newcastle, who host Brighton on Saturday, have won five of their past seven league games.

Free-scoring Chelsea were well off the pace just weeks ago, but a run of one defeat in their past 12 league games has given them hope of salvaging a troubled season.

Mauricio Pochettino's men travel to relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest knowing a win will keep alive their hopes of a European spot.

Forest eye safety after turbulent campaign

Nottingham Forest learned this week that an appeal against their four-point penalty for breaching Premier League financial rules had been unsuccessful, but they are still close to securing top-flight safety.

If Forest better Luton's result against West Ham they will be on the brink of securing a third straight year in the top-flight.

It has been a rollercoaster season for Forest, who were charged with improper conduct by the Football Association earlier this month after the club criticised VAR Stuart Attwell on social media following their defeat to Everton.

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo said he had "already moved on" after the failed appeal over their points deduction.

They are favourites to avoid the drop but if results go against them this weekend, they could yet face a shootout for survival with Burnley on the final weekend.

Fixtures

Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Fulham v Man City (1130), Bournemouth v Brentford, Everton v Sheff Utd, Newcastle v Brighton, Tottenham v Burnley, West Ham v Luton, Wolves v Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest v Chelsea (1630)

Sunday

Manchester United v Arsenal (1530)

Monday

Aston Villa v Liverpool (1900)