​Every title race has a weekend that shows the true colours of those competing. We may only be halfway through the season, but it has become abundantly clear how the closing stages will pan out. Arsenal and Manchester City are undoubtedly set to lock horns in a dramatic two-horse title race, as the fabled tale of Leicester City's heroics begins to meet its depressingly realistic end. 


Of course, it's extremely perilous to predict the future months of the Premier League in a season riddled with unpredictability, but what's become obvious is that it'll be the thrilling creative machine of Arsenal or the sometimes-brilliant-sometimes-average City lifting the title. 

Against Newcastle United on Saturday, Arsenal had to dig deeper than they've done so all season. Fatigued and bereft of that hypnotic attacking excellence that has characterised their surge to the league's summit this year, the Gunners had to conjure up a resilience from deep within their energy reserves as Laurent Koscielny emerged as the matchwinner. Arsene Wenger admitted that he felt 'sorry' for Steve McClaren's Magpies after asserting themselves as credible opponents.


“I know also when you are capable to win and you haven’t played well it shows a mental aspect of your team that is very important," Wenger said of his side's performance. 


Indeed, this is the pivotal factor that must act as the heartbeat for Arsenal's bid for a first title in a dozen years. They may not always have the sweeping prowess of Olivier Giroud operating at his maximum up front, or the spellbinding creative talents of Mesut Ozil to fall upon, but they must always retain that dogged determination that will see them through the tougher, more taxing games. 

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League

Arsenal emerged on Saturday as out-and-out favourites for the title, armed with not only the most talented squad in the country, but exuding the priceless mentality and togetherness that is impossible to put a price on. 


The same could be said for Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City, whose side weathered the storm ensued by Watford and clinched a dramatic late three points at Vicarage Road that may be crucial come May. With the expensive summer recruits of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne not quite inspiring, it was left to the 'old guard' of Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero to show them the way. It's important to remember that, while Pellegrini's men may not always scintillate with magical, goal-laden performances, they have world-class footballers that know exactly what is required to finish as the last man standing after an emotionally exhausting title race. 

Watford v Manchester City - Premier League

Unfortunately, there has to be a team whose inspiration fizzles out gradually. Getting to the top of the Premier League is a glorious achievement for any team, but staying there is a different beast altogether. Nothing can be taken away from Claudio Ranieri's Leicester and their capacity to thrill and excite this season, but reality may just be creeping back into the dreamy King Power Stadium, that has staged some of the most memorable games in the club's history in the past 12 months. 


Against Bournemouth on Saturday, the stadium became a cauldron of frustration and worry. Worry that the famine was following the feast. Riyad Mahrez reminded everyone that he isn't invincible by missing a penalty as the hunting Foxes went starving for the third game running. Ardent fans and romantic onlookers wanted to deny it, and they were given reason to the longer it went on, but it's time to prepare for the inevitable slide of the underdogs. Leicester are a cracking side and will finish strongly this season, but they will be ushered out of the title race as Arsenal and Manchester City tussle for supremacy. 

Liverpool v Leicester City - Premier League


Of course, it would be disrespectful to completely discount the merits of a late-season charge from either Spurs or Manchester United, but the title does look beyond both Louis van Gaal and Mauricio Pochettino. Interestingly, while Pochettino has enhanced his reputation as one of the most astute tactical minds in world football this season, van Gaal simply doesn't possess the necessary quality to upset either Arsenal or their neighbours City. 


All we can hope for is that the remaining four months provides the same level of surprise, intrigue, exhilaration, bemusement and wonderment as the first half. It's been an electrifying season - and one that deserves a title race to savour. Over to you, Manuel, Arsene and Claudio. 

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