The English Premier League is heating up as we hit the halfway point of the season, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham all fighting for the top spot. However, after matchweek 17, it is Manchester United who sit atop the table, with a four-point lead over their bitter rivals Manchester City.
Manchester United's impressive form has seen them win their last four league games, including a crucial victory over Wolves on Tuesday night. Their defensive solidity has been key, as they have only conceded two goals in their last six games. Meanwhile, Manchester City has struggled for consistency this season, with their last two games resulting in a draw and a loss.
Despite their recent form, both teams have plenty of quality and depth in their squads, and it is likely that this title race will go down to the wire. Liverpool and Tottenham are not far behind either, with just three and four points respectively separating them from Manchester United.
Manchester City's recent slip-ups have been surprising, as they were touted as one of the favorites for the title at the start of the season. Their defensive frailties have been exposed, with the likes of John Stones, Ruben Dias, and Aymeric Laporte all struggling for consistency. However, the biggest issue for City has been their lack of goals, as they have only scored 23 in their 15 league games thus far.
The absence of star striker Sergio Aguero, who has missed the majority of the season through injury, has been felt, and it remains to be seen how soon he will return to action. In his absence, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres have been tasked with leading the line, but they have not been able to replicate the same level of goalscoring as Aguero.
Manager Pep Guardiola will be hoping that his side can soon rediscover their scoring touch and tighten up defensively if they are to mount a serious title challenge. With the quality they possess in the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez, there is no doubt that City has the potential to turn things around quickly.
Manchester United's resurgence under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been one of the stories of the season so far. The Norwegian has managed to instill a winning mentality into his players, who have shown tremendous character and resilience in their recent games.
The likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Paul Pogba have been in scintillating form, and their attacking prowess has been key in United's rise to the top. They have scored 36 goals in their 17 league games, the highest in the division, and their counter-attacking ability has been a joy to watch.
Defensively, United has been solid, conceding just 19 goals in their 17 games. The partnership of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof has been impressive, while the return of Luke Shaw and the addition of Alex Telles has strengthened their left-back position.
While the battle for the title takes center stage, the race for the top four is just as intriguing. Chelsea, Leicester City, and Everton currently occupy the next three spots, but the likes of Aston Villa, Southampton, and Arsenal are also in the mix.
Chelsea has struggled for consistency under manager Frank Lampard, but their wealth of attacking options means they are always a threat. Leicester City, last season's surprise package, have continued their impressive form under Brendan Rodgers, while Everton has been revitalized under Carlo Ancelotti.
However, it is Aston Villa who have been the surprise package of the season so far. They currently sit in fifth place, just one point outside the top four, and their attacking duo of Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins has been superb.
With so many games left to play, the battle for the top four promises to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.
The English Premier League is in full swing, and the race for the title and the top four is well and truly on. Manchester United currently lead the way, but Manchester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham are not far behind. The battle for the top four is also intense, with a number of teams in the mix. With so many exciting games left to play, fans around the world will be eagerly anticipating how the season will unfold.