Manchester City is now a clear favorite with sportsbooks to win the English Premier League, despite sitting four points behind leader Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand.
City, the reigning champion, is 4/9 with most bookmakers, which equates to an implied probability of 69.2%. Arsenal, which has led the table for most of the season, is now 7/4 (36.4%) to win its first title in 19 years after drawing at West Ham on Sunday.
City, by contrast, has hit imperious form just when it matters. “The Citizens” have won their last seven league games, scoring 24 goals in the process. After a season when some commentators questioned whether this iteration of City had the electrifying aura of seasons past, the team is starting to look pretty unstoppable.
Arsenal’s result at West Ham was its second draw in as many weeks. On both occasions the team threw away a two-goal lead, apparently crumbling after a period of dominance.
This is the youngest team in the Premier League, and the double wobble could be seen as the inexperience of youth or the arrogance of youth, depending on your perspective. Some believe the players are losing their nerve as the stakes get high; others that their overconfidence led them to take their eye off the ball. Soccer is always a game of narratives.
With seven games remaining for Arsenal, and eight for City, the team from Manchester has a slightly longer but arguably easier run in. Arsenal must still play Chelsea and Brighton at home and Newcastle away – all potentially tough fixtures.
And the North London club must also travel to the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City on April 26. So much rests on that game, and a win for Arsenal would change everything. The season could be won or lost right there at the Etihad.
Champions League Race
Elsewhere, with Manchester United having third place locked up, Newcastle is favorite (4/11) to hang onto fourth place for the final coveted Champions League qualifying spot. Newcastle has 56 points from 30 games, but they are being hunted by a pack. Brighton, on 49 points but with two games in hand, is still a contender, and, at 4/1, could be worth a shot.
At the other end of the table, five teams are in danger of relegation, including Southampton, which bookies have at a 1/20 lost cause to survive.
Nottingham Forest and Leicester are the next favorites to be relegated, at 2/7 and 5/6, respectively. But Everton (evens) and Leeds (9/4) are also in the danger zone and will have to fight tooth and nail to avoid the drop.
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