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Footballing Weekly: EPL title chasers Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal showing remarkable powers of recovery

Recent setbacks in results have not derailed the exciting three-horse race, which is set to go all the way until the final matchday

(From left) Liverpool's Harvey Elliott, Manchester City's Erling Haaland and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka scoring important goals in the battle for the English Premier League (EPL) title this season. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)
(From left) Liverpool's Harvey Elliott, Manchester City's Erling Haaland and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka scoring important goals in the battle for the English Premier League (EPL) title this season. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The English Premier League (EPL) is shaping up to be a tight and tense three-horse race for the trophy, and the three teams - Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal - have each shown in recent weeks that they are capable of bouncing back quickly and strongly from setbacks amid their title charges.

Liverpool maintained their position at the top of the league table after a stirring, come-from-behind 4-1 win over Luton Town at Anfield on Wednesday (21 February). A early goal by the visitors created much anxiety among the Reds fans, but they were eventually roaring with delight as Liverpool tore through their opponents with four goals in the second half.

That the Reds earned the win despite facing a potentially crippling injury crisis showed their squad's immense depth and ability to rise to the challenge when called into action by manager Jurgen Klopp.

Against Luton, they were missing nine first-team regulars, including linchpins Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker and Darwin Nunez. Yet, the fit players dug deep together with up-and-coming youth talents called up in emergency, ignored their missing teammates and earned a vital third straight victory that keeps them four points ahead of second-placed Man City, having played one more game.

Haaland bounces back after rare off-day

Man City, the defending champions, also recovered recently from a setback in their bid for a fourth straight EPL title. A 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Saturday ended their 11-match winning run, and meant they could not overtake Liverpool with their game in hand.

Key goalscorer Erling Haaland had an off-night against the Blues, the usually-deadly Norwegian missing nine attempts on goal and looking despondent after the match. With manager Pep Guardiola recently criticising his "body language" amid his bid to regain match fitness following an injury spell, the pressure was on for Haaland to not let those misses affect him.

And he responded immediately in their next league match against Brentford on Tuesday, coolly slotting home the winning goal in their precious 1-0 victory that keeps Man City hot on the tails of Liverpool, ready to pounce on whatever points dropped by the Reds in their remaining 12 matches.

Gunners in fine fettle after a poor December

Third-placed Arsenal, a point behind Man City, are also showing they will be no pushovers in the title chase, despite not having as deep a squad as either City or Liverpool. They roared to a 5-0 thrashing over Burnley on Saturday, their third impressive league win on the trot following a convincing 3-1 win over Liverpool and a 6-0 evisceration of West Ham.

These victories come amid a five-match winning run in the league since January, and went a long way in the Gunners' recovery from a three-match winless streak in December, which saw them lose the top spot to Liverpool. With Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard and even Kai Havertz finding their top form, Arsenal showed they will not be pushovers amid the title chase.

With the Gunners and Liverpool set to face Man City next month, it is shaping up to be a titanic battle for the EPL title, with no sides willing to give an inch. Yet, even if they should taste defeat, their powers of recovery mean that the title may not be decided until the final matchday of the season in May.

Follow the new EPL season with all segments of this week's "Footballing Weekly" show on YouTube. If you wish the hear the show in its entirety, visit the show's Spotify and Acast pages.

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