- Arsenal are set to battle for the Premier League title with Manchester City as the season enters its final stages
- The relegation battle is also one to look out for, with three of eight teams certain to drop next season
- A simulation has determined which side has the most difficult fixtures of the remaining games this term
Following the conclusion of the last international break, the Premier League returns this weekend with much fanfare and aplomb as the race on both ends of the table heats up.
With 10 games to go, Arsenal will be hoping to hold on to their eight-point lead and secure a first Premier League trophy since 2004.
Manchester City are the closest challengers to Mikel Arteta's charges, with an early kick-off match against Liverpool on April Fools' Day set to get the ball rolling.
Opta Power Rankings simulated a table of which team has the most difficult and easiest fixtures. The title race might be a two-horse race but on the opposite end, only four points separate 12th-placed Crystal Palace and bottom-placed Southampton.
Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ click on "Recommended for you" and enjoy!
There will be equally an interesting battle as Chelsea and Aston Villa attempt to qualify for European football. The two clubs are nine points away from a Europa League spot.
Therefore, there is no denying that the remaining fixtures will be like finals, with teams fighting to survive the chop, win the league, or get European football.
Comparing the EPL fixture difficulty
According to rankings, eight-placed Brentford have the most difficult run-in of all the 20 teams, with Thomas Frank's side set to play all of the teams above them except Arsenal.
How Man United and Chelsea could stop Liverpool from playing in Champions League next season
Aston Villa is next on the list, with Nottingham Forrest coming in third. If these rankings are anything to go by, then Chelsea's hopes for a European-place finish have taken a major hit, with Graham Potter's side placed fourth on the list of the most difficult fixtures.
Arsenal and Man City are 11th and 12th on the list. The two are set to square off at the Etihad Stadium on April 26.
Man United has a 19-point gap to bridge between themselves and the top of the table but have received a major boost, as the ranking places them as the club with the third-easiest fixtures in the division.
London clubs, Crystal Palace and Fulham have been adjudged to have the easiest remaining fixtures.
Disclaimers on supercomputer projections
It should be noted that this is merely conjecture, as football always has a way of surprising you, such as when Brentford embarked on a 10-game winning run to finish in the top four or Crystal Palace being relegated despite having the 'easiest' fixtures.
Also, Arsenal's non-involvement in other competitions has not been factored in. The Manchester clubs are still in three competitions and this could have a toll on the Premier League race.
No matter the outcomes, we will be there no matter what, starting with the Manchester City vs Liverpool showdown on Saturday at lunchtime.
Dissecting Arsenal, Man City fixtures
Sports Brief had also reported on not many people putting Arsenal in the title race when the season began in August, with many looking at the usual suspects like Man City and Liverpool and perhaps even Chelsea.
But game after game, Mikel Arteta has showed why trusting the process is a thing. With nearly three-quarters of the season done, the Gunners are no longer just title contenders but also favourites for the title.
Arsenal will be feeling confident about clinching the English Premier League title for the first time since 2004, but behind them are an Erling Haaland-powered Manchester City hunting them down in second place.