It's tight at the top of the Premier League table following Matchday 22, as Arsenal are leading Manchester City by just one point and Chelsea by two points. It's really anybody's game.
Each of the top three teams won its fixtures on Matchday 22 in rather convincing fashion. Two goals was the difference in each of the three matches, with Chelsea's 3-1 victory over Manchester United representing arguably the most impressive victory of any club in Week 22.
Moving ahead to Week 23, the top teams will need to focus on not beating themselves. Their fixtures are favorable, but a miscue or two could be detrimental to their spots on the table.
Here's how the entire table looks heading into Week 23:
|Premier League Table|
Sunderland vs. Stoke City
Sunderland are looking to avoid a bottom-three finish on the table, and winning against Stoke City would be a step in the right direction. Currently No. 19 on the table, Sunderland cannot afford another slip-up.
After going 2-0 in their last two contests, Sunderland finished with a draw against Southampton. It was an impressive match for the No. 19 team, as Southampton are far superior in terms of talent.
Should that play continue into Week 23, Sunderland will be able to compete with Stoke City. Stoke City, No. 13 on the table, haven't won a match in the Premier League since Dec. 21 against Aston Villa. They are 0-1-4 since.
While not a matchup of high-profile teams, Sunderland may be hitting somewhat of a stride at the right time—making this match interesting to watch.
Tottenham vs. Man City
Despite being separated by just three spots on the table—Manchester City are No. 2 and Tottenham are No. 5—the two clubs are separated by seven points. Tottenham have a real chance of picking up ground should they play well against Man City.
It certainly won't be easy for Tottenham. City have posted a ridiculous goal differential of plus-38 this season. While that's a credit to their play on defense, it's also a direct result of their ability to net 63 goals up to this point.
Tottenham must play well on defense to have any chance. Since their 5-0 loss at the hands of Liverpool on Dec. 15, Tottenham have allowed just five goals in Premier League play. Those five goals were spread out over six matches, so it appears as if the defense is playing quite well.
Man City must not falter against the lesser opponent. Even though Tottenham rank No. 5 on the table, the only real competition for Man City at this point are Arsenal and Chelsea. It would be a big upset if Tottenham won.
Norwich City vs. Newcastle
Newcastle can pass Manchester United in Week 23 if they can muster enough points. United will go up against Cardiff City (No. 20), so at the very least, Newcastle will have to keep pace.
Prior to their 3-1 win over West Ham on Matchday 22, Newcastle had dropped three straight after their 5-1 win over Stoke City on Dec. 26. That type of slide has inhibited them from jumping ahead of United sooner.
Norwich City won for the first time since Dec. 7 on Matchday 22, but that doesn't mean Newcastle will have a particularly tough go of things. After all, there's a reason the two clubs are separated by 13 points on the table.
Look for Newcastle to win easy and at least keep pace with United.