Arsenal & Tottenham Hold Key to Liverpool & Man U Title Hopes

John HoumesSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2009

LONDON - FEBRUARY 08:  Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Samir Nasri of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on February 8, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

After Liverpool's draw at home against Arsenal on Tuesday and Man U's victory over Portsmouth yesterday, the title is the Red Devils' to lose. While Liverpool have an edge in goal differential, United sit three points above Liverpool in the tables and have a game in hand.

Translation? Out of their six remaining matches, Manchester United must either lose two or draw three in order for Liverpool to have a shot at the title. Liverpool must also win out the rest of their matches. The good news for Liverpool is that Man U still have one eye on the Champions League.

Counting the match against Arsenal on Tuesday, Liverpool and Man U have three common opponents left. The other two are Tottenham and Hull City. While Hull will likely be a walk in the park for the EPL's two top teams, the matches against Tottenham and Arsenal could prove to play a key part in the title race. In fact, Arsenal already have been a key player in the title race when they stole a point at Anfield.

Manchester United take on Tottenham at Old Trafford on April 25, four days before playing Arsenal in the Champions League semifinals at home. Tottenham's form is good of late, grabbing 13 points in their last six EPL matches, while Man U have grabbed 12 points.

Arsenal will travel to Old Trafford a second time on May 16 for an EPL matchup. This will be Man U's second to last EPL match, and Arsenal's third match against Manchester United in 17 days.

If Man U advances in the Champions League, could Arsenal take revenge and grab three points at Old Trafford? The Gunners are hot right now, and it would be difficult for Man U to win two out of three matches.

The downside for Arsenal is that they also play Chelsea at Emirates on May 10, meaning that the Gunners have five matches against other Big Four opponents in 25 days.

Chelsea's chances at the title slipped out of their hands in their 0-0 draw against Everton on Wednesday.

Liverpool's only other hope for Man U to drop points would seem to be Manchester City, who travel to Old Trafford on May 10. City's form has been okay, but they have been known to step up against United. City lost 0-1 against United earlier this year but beat them twice last season, including a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford. A win for City at Old Trafford is a long shot, but a possibility.

Liverpool will end their season this year the same way they did last year, at Anfield vs. Tottenham. Liverpool won last year. But if Man U drops points and the title race comes down to the last match of the season, will Robbie Keane be looking to prove himself when he returns to Anfield, or will he want the team he supported as a lad to take their first EPL title since his childhood?

The title race is leaning significantly in Man U's favor, but it isn't over yet. The key players in the race may not be Man U or Liverpool, but their common opponents from north London: Arsenal and Tottenham.

Remaining schedules

Manchester United

April 25: Tottenham
April 29: Arsenal (CL)
May 2: @ Middlesbrough
May 5: @ Arsenal (CL)
May 10: Manchester City
May 13: @ Wigan
May 16: Arsenal
May 24: @ Hull City
May 27: Champions League Final


April 25: @ Hull City
May 3: Newcastle United
May 9: @ West Ham United
May 17: @ West Brom
May 24: Tottenham


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