With over a third of the Premier League season now gone, the title race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive, hard-fought and intriguing in a number of years.
While recent seasons have seen a two-horse race at most, four or five teams have been tipped to challenge this time around, including surprise package Aston Villa.
Villa's convincing midweek win over Manchester City also made it four games without a victory for the defending champions and perennial favourites, a run that has seen them slip to fourth in the table, six points off top.
With Liverpool and particularly leaders Arsenal also showing a tremendous ability to dig out dramatic late wins so far this term, many onlookers have begun to rethink their pre-season predictions for the way the title race could go.
With that in mind, the Sports Mole team have discussed who they think will go on to lift the trophy in May with 15 games of evidence to inform their predictions.
Barney Corkhill, Editor - Manchester City
I still think Man City have to be regarded as favourites, even accounting for their notable dip in form of late. It will require an improvement from Pep Guardiola's side over the remainder of the campaign, but there is plenty of precedent for that from previous seasons under the Spanish genius.
Man City do look a little more vulnerable than in previous seasons, and so the door may be ajar slightly more than past years, while their fate could also depend on how many more matches Rodri misses over the course of the campaign - he really is that important to them that another three-game suspension could end up being the difference in the title race.
Guardiola has generally been relatively lucky with injuries so far this season compared to other clubs, but being without Kevin De Bruyne should not be underestimated either and they are sure to improve when he comes back into the fold, which may not be too far away now.
Arsenal and Liverpool have been very good this term and deserve their places as the top two at the moment, but both have required late, late goals or comebacks to rescue points. While that can be a sign of champions, it also only takes one or two of those games not to go your way and suddenly the advantage at the top is gone.
I was very confident at the start of the season that Liverpool would finish in the top two, and nothing I have seen so far makes me change that, but I'm still backing Man City to do what they do, which is go on a ludicrous winning run in the second half of the campaign that leaves everyone else in their wake.
It is important to remember that Man City have already spent plenty of time at the top of the table this season, and they have recovered from bigger points deficits than they currently face - notably last season - so for me they still have to be regarded as favourites.
Darren Plant, Senior Reporter - Manchester City
Much is being made of Manchester City's slump, and rightly so. Regardless of the level of their opponents, no-one would have foreseen a four-match winless streak.
However, not enough is being made of their upcoming schedule. A trip to Newcastle United is their solitary game against a top-eight side in 10 matches, and it is why I think Man City will be leading the table at the beginning of March and through to the end of the season.
There is potential for Arsenal and Liverpool to stay the course, as may Aston Villa, but the fact that Arsenal and Villa play each other this weekend at the same time as City travel to Luton means that the table could look far more attractive from a City perspective come the end of the week.
With the return of Kevin De Bruyne added to the equation and City potentially needing their backs against the wall to reignite a spark, the optimism being felt by their rivals could be short-lived.
Oliver Thomas, Senior Reporter - Manchester City
Manchester City were the overwhelming favourites to win a record fourth successive Premier League title before the start of this season, and they are still leading the way with the bookmakers despite trailing new table-toppers Arsenal by six points following their recent wobble.
Before the midweek defeat at high-flying Aston Villa, Pep Guardiola confidently stated that his side "are going to win the Premier League" this season, and while slight doubts may now have crept into the minds of some supporters, the Citizens have history when it comes to overturning points deficits en route to finishing top of the pile.
In 2011-12, Man City were eight points behind Manchester United with just six games remaining, but won all six fixtures to finish above their bitter rivals on goal difference and claim their first top-flight title for 44 years, while in the 2013-14 campaign, the Citizens capitalised on Liverpool blowing a nine-point lead at the summit by winning their final five matches to secure a second title in three seasons by two points.
Last season, Man City were eight points adrift of Arsenal with 10 games remaining, but their experience and resilience ultimately prevailed as they leapfrogged a faltering Gunners outfit to win their third title in a row and fifth in six seasons, this time by a five-point margin and with two games to spare.
As the saying goes, it is a marathon not a sprint. Man City supporters are understandably keen to see their side return to winning ways quickly, but there are still 23 Premier League games remaining in which Guardiola and co will be confident of turning the club's fortunes around, knocking Arsenal off their perch and also fending off competition from Liverpool come May 2024.
Can Man City still win the league? Of course. Will they eventually come out on top? I think so.
Jonathan O'Shea, Reporter - Manchester City
Perhaps quite boringly, Manchester City can overcome their recent malaise and mount another springtime surge towards top spot, surpassing flawed Arsenal and Liverpool sides on the way.
With Kevin De Bruyne returning to fitness and Erling Haaland sure to rediscover his mojo, the reigning champions remain the team to beat - but their winning margin could be finer than last season's.
Joel Lefevre, Reporter - Arsenal
Knowing the track record of Pep Guardiola and how Man City always seem to come alive in the second half of domestic campaigns it is difficult to bet against them capturing the Premier League once again.
That being said I am betting on Arsenal finishing the job this season and claiming the Premier League crown.
The Gunners have shown a lot of character domestically, they are winning in various ways and Mikel Arteta's men have to this point of the campaign been able to find something extra to turn a point into three.
Even in matches where victory may be undeserved Arsenal have found a way to get it done like recently against Luton Town and that is the mark of a true champion.
Their overall character, consistency and balance, plus the addition of another quality midfielder with championship pedigree in Declan Rice I believe will put them over the top.
City will of course not go down without a fight and challenge but I have faith that the Gunners will hold their nerve this time around and claim the title.
Andrew Delaney, Reporter - Manchester City
Man City still have by far the best squad, both in terms of depth, and all-round quality on the pitch in the Premier League, and they have come back from bigger deficits before.
With Kevin De Bruyne soon set to return, it would be no surprise to see City go on another lengthy winning streak during the run-in and just beat Liverpool and Arsenal sides, whom I think will run City close, to top spot.
Devesh Jaganath, Reporter - Manchester City
While the Citizens have been dropping points of late, their class cannot be questioned. With Kevin De Bruyne set to return to action any time now, I am expecting to see the Sky Blues resume business as normal with the Belgian maestro bringing out the best from the towering Norwegian at the top end of the pitch.
In addition, the January transfer window will allow them to strengthen in defence. I reckon it will go down to the wire again this season but am backing City to make it four in a row.
Joshua Cole, Reporter - Arsenal
Arsenal's impressive performances this season indicates that Mikel Arteta and his side are finally ready to end Manchester City's dominance and claim the Premier League title.
As Sir Alex Ferguson once said, 'Attack wins you games, but defence wins you titles'. Arsenal have been solid at the back so far, with the triangle of William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Declan Rice helping them become the best defensive team in the league. In addition, unlike previous seasons, Arsenal now have a strong bench with players who can make a real difference when called upon.
The Gunners are top of the table despite injuries to some important players, and will only become stronger once these players return. Pep Guardiola will always make Manchester City the favorites but Mikel Arteta has shown that he evolves and becomes better with each passing season.
It finally feels like the season Arsenal will go all the way, as they have the vital ingredients.
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