Arsenal couldn’t overcome Liverpool, Stoke and Chelsea oppositions as well as it could have and resulted in them ending January at the 3rd position in the league. Chelsea players proved that they were indeed a star studded squad by remaining undefeated in January as they crawl upwards in the league table. Liverpool and Manchester City have managed to reach the finals of the league cup also managing the tightly packed fixtures not to tire them much. Manchester United are still inconsistent as they manage to win only with a few shots on target they manage but their win at Anfield is well deserved. Leicester City tops the table and Tottenham is still in the Top four spot. Will the February fixtures bring a lot of change to the Premier League positions?
Arsenal – right time for the squad to make their mark in domestic and European games
Just after defeat against Chelsea, Arsenal players were so downtrodden conjuring a cloud of disbelief in their capability to win the title. Only the seasoned winner Petr Čech was trying to assure that they are only 3 points behind the leaders Leicester City with 15 games in hand. The team needs to think like champions to win it.
February fixtures provides a platform for Arsenal to close the gap with Leicester and to make a name for itself against Barcelona. Arsenal have 4 games to play at home among 6 games which might come in handy. It could also prove to be disastrous if Arsenal can’t manage to catch up with Leicester and lose against Barcelona. These games will tell us whether this Arsenal squad is worthy of title talk.
Chelsea – Cup competitions would prove tougher to crack
Chelsea just marched forward unscathed from a tricky January fixture as they had the best results in January among Premier League clubs. In fact, they remain undefeated since the departure of José Mourinho. February is not an easy month either for the blues as they face Paris St. Germain away and Manchester City at home in Champions League and FA Cup fixtures. Cup games will be tougher.
The premier league fixtures are of medium difficulty level with game against Manchester United their only tough game. Newcastle and Watford are must win games. Southampton game away will be tricky but still should avoid loss to ensure that they climb up the league table ladder.
Liverpool – Possibility for Jürgen Klopp to enjoy an early cup win
Liverpool had been troubled as they played 9 games in January and managing only 3 wins. They obviously didn’t manage the tighter fixtures in January as expected. They traveled 850 miles in just 8 days and played 9 games overall in January. Even February proves to be a month of jam packed schedule as they play 7 games and if they qualify for FA cup 5th round, possibly 8 games. This tight schedule is definitely going to give Jürgen Klopp a headache with injuries and fatigue.
In Premier League, they face table leaders Leicester City and relegation candidates Aston Villa and Sunderland. Not a tough one. Even the Europa League fixtures do not seem a daunting task to face. They play Manchester City in League Cup finals at the end of February. This one win could give the team spirit to march towards the finish line of the season from March.
Manchester City – Ideal challenge for a Premier League giant
Having enjoyed a relatively easier fixture in January, Manchester City closed the gap with Arsenal. However, they couldn’t close the gap with Leicester City. It will be extremely difficult for Manchester City to mount a title challenge in February. They are faced with a task to face Liverpool in league cup finals and Chelsea away in FA cup 5th round. These 2 fixtures will be exhausting enough for them.
Manchester City also faces leaders Leicester City and 4th placed Tottenham this month. Only luck for the Citizens here is that these 2 tough fixtures are to be played at their fortress Etihad Stadium. Their only relief would be the relatively easier Champions League round of 16 fixture against Dynamo Kyiv. If they manage to lead the table, progress in FA cup and UEFA Champions League and win the league cup, they are up for a rocking season and their decision to replace Manuel Pellegrini would be perplexing.
Manchester United – Struggle for Louis van Gaal to save his job amidst congested fixtures
The relatively easier January fixtures had helped Manchester United much. They lost only one and won four of the 6 games played and are currently at 5th position in the table as the top four finish is in sights. In February, they face Arsenal, Chelsea, Sunderland and Stoke City in Premier League. Sunderland is the only easy game and it would be difficult to stick on the top 5 spot.
They also have 4 consecutive away fixtures which would be exhausting for the team. Entry to Europa League might be an unnecessary fixture congestion for the Red Devils’ domestic campaign. Louis van Gaal faces a daunting task at hand to save his life at Old Trafford helm.
Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur – aspiring sides
Both Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur are in the title challenge. Leicester City is currently competing only in Premier League. They face Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal in February. Not an easy task to hold on to the top spot. Their only advantage is the time to prepare for these games. They only play 4 games in February. If they are to remain solid in February, they are just a step away to lifting their Premier League title.
Tottenham faces fixtures against Manchester City and Italian side Fiorentina among 7 games to be played in February. The fixtures are packed but their Premier League games against Norwich City, Watford and Swansea are pretty much winnable.
February is a truly testing period for these sides’ ambition in English Premier League and other competitions.