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When you look at the current English Premier League table, which was frozen for six weeks during the 2022 Qatar World Cup, it makes for some pretty interesting reading.

Arsenal, which has not won the title for nearly 20 years, and has not been in a title race for seven seasons, leads the way: the Gunners have only dropped points in two of their 14 games so far this season.

Mikel Arteta’s side leads Manchester City, the two-time defending champions and winners of four of the last five titles, by five points as play resumes on Boxing Day. The two teams have yet to play (the game was postponed because Arsenal had a UEFA Europa League match that had to be rearranged due to the Queen’s death), and will face off twice in the final months of the campaign: once on February 15, and once on April 26.

Now, there are three other teams that remain within striking distance of the top two teams, but you would be hard-pressed to find many people who think they have a chance to go on the second half run necessary to win a Premier League title. But, in theory, Newcastle United (third, 30 points, seven behind Arsenal with one more game played), Tottenham (fourth, 29 points, eight behind Arsenal with one more match played), and Manchester United (fifth, 26 points, 12 behind Arsenal) are still alive.

Let’s make a case for all of them.

Arsenal: the current leaders have played out of their minds so far this season, but F Gabriel Jesus hurt his knee at the World Cup, and will miss a lot of time. Most NJ Bet sites like SI Sports think that the Gunners will not hold off mighty Manchester City after play resumes, but Arteta has this team believing. Arsenal is certainly going to be in it, but the overwhelming feeling is that the Gunners will fade in the tough winter months when they are playing in multiple competitions. This has happened so many times it is hard to count: expect a swoon in January and February.

Manchester City: everyone (EVERYONE) expects the Cityzens to make a run at some point in the next couple months and pass Arsenal. They did not go into the break in great form (two losses in five), but will make the moves necessary to win. One thing, though: City is favored to win all four competitions they are in, and the UEFA Champions League is the ultimate prize. WIth the fixtures piling up, will City prioritize Europe? That might give another team a chance.

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Newcastle United: with the Saudi Investment Fund in charge, you know Newcasle will spend in the winter. But are they good enough to win a title this early? It seems like a couple years early: but do not count the Magpies out right now. They have something cooking.

Tottenham: the only way the Spurs win the title is if Harry Kane goes on a goal-scoring rampage after missing the penalty to see England knocked out of the World Cup. Barring that, it is not happening.

Manchester United: much like Newcastle, if United is bought by someone with unlimited resources and they spend like crazy in the January window, they could be a factor in the second half. This year might be about building the foundation (top four) before a huge summer of investment. It would take a second half unbeaten run of 20+ matches to do it.

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