Footballing Weekly: Role reversal for Manchester City in title chase

Unlike past title-winning seasons when they were usually fending off challengers, City have had to do the chasing this time around

Man City's Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace in their English Premier League clash.
Man City's Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace in their English Premier League clash. (PHOTO: by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Manchester City have been the dominant club in the English Premier League (EPL) in recent years, winning four out of the past five seasons.

While they are still in contention for the title this season, the situation is far different. In the past, City would have stormed up the league table and taken top spot around the turn of the year, as other title challenging clubs tried unsuccessfully to overtake them

This time though, they are still in second place in March, with the final stretch of league games coming up. Arsenal have been leading the table for much of the season, and have kept City at arm's length so far.

The past weekend, Man City had maintained their pressure on the Gunners, edging Crystal Palace 1-0 via an Erling Haaland penalty on Saturday (11 March) to put them within two points of Arsenal, with the Gunners only playing against Fulham on Sunday,

Yet, Arsenal have shown throughout this season that they are far more resilient than in recent seasons under Mikel Arteta, as they swept past Fulham 3-0, with all goals coming in a superb first half when they overran their opponents away from home.

So the Gunners' lead atop the EPL table is back to five points, and it seems that they are capable of negotiating through the unrelenting pressure by Man City - at least until they meet for the next month's top-of-the-table clash.

Do City have the resilience to keep racking up victories to rein in Arsenal? Or will they be too preoccupied with winning the Champions League and be distracted? Or will their inconsistency as they tried to effectively incorporate Haaland eventually cost them a game or two?

This is a key question as the EPL heads into the final stretch after the international break.

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