Are Tottenham and Aston Villa serious title contenders?

By on February 6, 2024

The business end of the season is fast approaching and Arsenal are now right in the mix with Liverpool and Manchester City. But are Tottenham and Aston Villa also serious title contenders? Let’s take a look…

Arsenal produced a magnificent performance to beat Liverpool 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday night. We bossed the league leaders for the vast majority of the game and rightfully took all three points. Bukayo Saka gave us a deserved lead and we should have been out of sight by the time Gabriel Magalhaes gifted Liverpool a lifeline just before half time.

Thankfully, Mikel Arteta’s men continued the domination in the second half and restored their lead through Gabriel Martinelli after Liverpool gave us a gift of their own before Leandro Trossard came off the bench to make it 3-1 late on.

The victory sees Arsenal move to within just two points of Liverpool with 15 games remaining. Manchester City are also two points adrift of the league leaders after beating Brentford 3-1 on Monday night – although the defending champions have a game in hand. That means they could move three points clear of Arsenal and one ahead of Liverpool if they win that game in hand, making City the clear bookies favourites to retain the title.

However, Sunday’s win keeps Arsenal in the mix and all Arteta can do is keep the pressure on our rivals by grinding out wins. The Gunners travel to West Ham on Sunday before taking on the likes of Burnley [A], Newcastle [H], Sheffield United [A], Brentford [H] and Chelsea [H] over the coming weeks. Arsenal have a great opportunity to rack up some points before the huge showdown with Manchester City at the Etihad on March 31st.

There is still a long way to go and there will be plenty of twists and turns to come, so if Arsenal can keep in touch at the top of the table, we still have a realistic chance to winning our first title since 2004.

Bounce back

Liverpool were poor on Sunday but they are still in pole position at the top of the table. They will no doubt bounce back and they cannot be written off just yet. The Reds have a good run coming up with games against Burnley [H], Brentford [A], Luton [A] and Forest [A] so Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to win 12 points from their next four games before a huge clash with Manchester City at Anfield on March 10th.

The Merseysiders look rejuvenated after last seasons wobble. Klopp has overhauled his midfield and they look to be a top team again. Liverpool are still in with a chance of winning four trophies this season. Perhaps a worry for them is the players facing burn out from such a long season, but they’ll want to let Klopp leave on a high with another title under his belt.

Obviously City are most pundits clear favourites for the title, but it would be foolish to write off the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool with 15 games remaining. However, could City have even more competition?

Tottenham and Villa contenders?

Not many would have expected Tottenham to be pushing for a title in Ange Postecoglou’s first season in charge. Not even the most optimistic fans with Spurs tickets would have had them down as title contenders so soon. Postecoglou took over a Tottenham team that was in disarray having finished eighth last season and they lost their talisman, Harry Kane, to Bayern Munich in the summer.

So the main aim was to steady the ship, rebuild the squad gradually and hopefully finish in the European qualification places. However, the Aussie boss has reshaped his team immediately and got Tottenham playing some lovely football. Spurs are re-energised under Postecoglou and look a completely different side to the one we saw a year ago.

They may have ridden their luck at times as their gung-ho approach leaves them open at the back, but Tottenham have recovered from a poor spell towards the end of 2023 and are firing on all cylinders again. Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton has left them sitting fifth in the table on 44 points – five behind Arsenal and seven off Liverpool. It would be a huge ask for Spurs to close the gap on the leaders but there is still time for them to mount a late charge.

Emery effect

If Tottenham’s title push is a surprise, it’s safe to say Aston Villa’s form this season has left most people flabbergasted. Only three years ago Villa were almost relegated to the Championship and they were struggling at the wrong end of the table when Unai Emery took over in late 2022.

However, the former Arsenal boss has done a tremendous job at Villa Park to turn their fortunes around. Villa have spent a lot of money to rebuild their squad but they’ve invested well in some top players such as Leon Bailey, Mousa Diaby, Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans. Add the likes of Emi Martinez and Ollie Watkins to the mix, and Emery has a proper team at his disposal and he’s making the most of it.

Aston Villa have already beaten Man City and Arsenal this season to prove they are capable of competing with the best in the division. They bounced back from a disappointing defeat to Newcastle last week with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday. That win moved them above Tottenham into fourth place – just three points behind Arsenal and five off Liverpool.

Not many believe Villa can go all the way to become champions, but nobody can deny they are right in the mix still – which at this stage of the season is a huge achievement in itself. If Villa can continue their form over the next 15 games, they will give themselves a great chance to qualify for the Champions League next season which would be an amazing feat considering the quality of the teams they’re competing against.

Personally, I think Villa will fall just short this season to finish fifth and miss out on Champions League qualification with Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs making the top four. However, to finish above the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, etc, would be an amazing achievement for Villa and testament to the progress they’ve made under Emery.