Premier League top six run-ins analysed: Can anyone stop Chelsea?

Can anyone stop Chelsea? We analyse the top six's Premier League run-ins as they gear up for the final months of the campaign.

Antonio Conte's side are nine points clear at the top of the table ahead of their Stamford Bridge showdown with third-placed Arsenal live on Sky Sports on Saturday.
There are sure to be more twists and turns as the season continues, but which of the top six faces the toughest run-in? Who has the busiest schedule? And what about injuries?
Chelsea's run-in pits them against Middlesbrough, West Brom and Sunderland in their final three games of the campaign, which suggests it is all the more important for Arsenal, Manchester City and United to take points off them when they go head-to-head before that.
The north London derby in the final weeks of the season is likely to be significant, with both Tottenham and Arsenal also facing Manchester United in their final three games of the campaign. Jose Mourinho's side could therefore have a big say in the outcome of the title race and the battle for the top four.
In terms of remaining meetings between the top six, Arsenal appear to have the toughest remaining fixtures. Arsene Wenger's side still have to face all five of their closest rivals - three of them away from home, starting with Saturday's clash at Stamford Bridge.
United have four remaining games against the top six, including three away days. City also have four - but with an even split between home and away games, while Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool only have three each, with two at home.
Cup commitments?
Having failed to qualify for Europe last season, Chelsea's only other commitment is the FA Cup. Even if they reach the final with replays in the fifth round and quarter-finals, the maximum number of remaining games they could play this season is 20.
Liverpool are in the same position as Chelsea having crashed out of the EFL Cup against Southampton last week.
The rest of the top six are facing far busier schedules as they continue their European campaigns. Manchester United are still in the Europa League and the FA Cup as well as the final of the EFL Cup, meaning they could have as many as 30 games to cram into the final there months of the season - a factor Mourinho has been quick to point out in recent weeks.
Tottenham's FA Cup and Europa League commitments could take them to 29 games, while Arsenal and Manchester City, the only Premier League clubs left in the Champions League, will have to contend a maximum of 27 games.
Who has the most injuries?
Chelsea's title prospects are further boosted by a completely clean bill of health, according to Physioroom.com. Tottenham have the most injuries with six players currently ruled out, including long-term absentees Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela and the newly sidelined Danny Rose.
Arsenal only have two injuries but they are to key midfielders Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, while Manchester City are without Ilkay Gundogan and Liverpool have lost Danny Ings. Manchester United have doubts over Phil Jones.
January reinforcements?
The January transfer window was an opportunity for the top six to strengthen their squads ahead of the run-in, but activity was minimal.
Manchester City's £27m Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus has shown he can take some of the goalscoring burden off Sergio Aguero, but elsewhere there have been more departures than arrivals.
Manchester United sold Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay to Everton and Lyon respectively, while Spurs allowed Tom Carroll to join Swansea and Chelsea allowed long-serving duo Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel to depart for Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg and Chinese side Tianjin.
Instead of new signings, the most notable reinforcements could come from players returning from the Africa Cup of Nations. Liverpool have already welcomed back Sadio Mane, Eric Bailly has gone back to Manchester United, while Arsenal will be grateful for Mohamed Elneny's return.
What do they say?
Antonio Conte: "We feel both confidence and pressure. It is normal that in every game, three points become very big. But we are ready. We are ready to fight and face the opponent. The games are very tough for the other teams as well."
Arsene Wenger: "At the moment what is important is for us to build a run and to have consistency in our results. That is more important than looking at the table, because I think we have built a strong run after we lost two games. Every game of course helps to create confidence and belief."
Mauricio Pochettino: "[Winning the title] would be amazing, the most important thing in Tottenham's history. This season we can feel, in every game, how our fans feel excited to spend time at White Hart Lane. The connection, the feeling and the energy that we get in every game is amazing."
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will meet again before the end of the season
Jurgen Klopp: "As I said a few weeks ago, if Chelsea win all their games, there's no chance for other teams. But it's important to finish the season as good as possible. We have the quality to fight for the Champions league, we should do this. And then, if you are close enough in the decisive moment of the season, then you can fight for a little bit more."
Pep Guardiola: "I'm never going to give up... ever. It's going to be difficult, of course, but I'm not worried about that now."
Jose Mourinho: "I set the target [to win the Premier League] because I think you cannot do a different thing at Manchester United. There is no reason to have an evolution if you do not set the target really high. We are improving in many aspects. We want to win the next match and we want every match with that mentality. Obviously you do not win every time and we drew too many matches in the Premier League."
Conclusion
With their nine-point lead, it's easy to see why Chelsea are Sky Bet's 1/4 favourites for the Premier League title. Conte's men are in fantastic form, they have a relatively kind run-in, and they don't have any injury concerns as they head into a crucial period of the season.
Chelsea are strong favourites to go on and win the title
They do, however, still have to play three of the other top six sides. This weekend's meeting with Arsenal could be crucial. There's a long way to go, but the chasing pack's best hope of catching them will be to take points off them directly.
Sky Bet Premier League title odds
Chelsea 1/4
Spurs 9/1
Man City 11/1
Liverpool 16/1
Arsenal 18/1
Man Utd 50/1
Source: All Football

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