Analysing Premier League Top-Four Contenders

Securing Champions League football is of paramount importance to Premier League clubs. And with only eight matches left to play this campaign, the top-four race couldn’t be any more fierce. 


While Liverpool and Manchester City battle it out at the top of the Premier League table, some less-fortunate clubs are fighting tooth and nails to feature in next season’s Champions League.

Even before matchday 30, the standings looked a bit straightforward. Tottenham, sitting four points clear at third, looked on course to feature in Europe’s elite tournament for the fourth successive campaign. However, a defeat to Southampton, combined with Arsenal’s win over Manchester United, has made things complicated. 

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have picked up just a solitary point from their last four Premier League matches, which has allowed their North London rivals, Arsenal, to move within a point of Spurs. Manchester United’s unbeaten start to the league under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also came to a screeching halt as the Gunners thumped them 2-0 at the Emirates.

The win helped Arsenal bounce back strongly from their 3-1 Europa League to Rennes. They played fearlessly, full of confidence, and, in the end, deservedly walked away with all three points. Unai Emery’s Arsenal haven’t always been the most consistent, but in the final stretch, they are really looking like a force to be reckoned with. 

Since Jose Mourinho’s dismissal, Manchester United have looked a lot sharper, more confident. Yes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side finally tumbled in the Premier League, but that shouldn’t undermine their progress under the Norwegian in any way. They are only a couple of points behind Arsenal right now, and with eight games still to play, there is plenty of twists and turns still in store. 

Finally, in the sixth position, we have Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea. The Blues have been highly inconsistent this season, but they are still in the running to book a place in Europe. They currently have a four-point deficit to overturn and seem to have enough firepower to pull it off. This weekend, they fell to a 1-1 draw against the Wolves and were lucky not to walk away empty-handed. Sarri’s men are also in the Europa League, and considering their form in the competition, they look like one of the front-runners for the pole position.

The next eight fixtures will decide the teams’ fate, and some teams are more fortunate than others. 

Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool (A), Brighton (H), Huddersfield (H), Manchester City (A), West Ham (H), Bournemouth (A), Everton (H), Crystal Palace (H)

Arsenal 

Newcastle (H), Everton (A), Watford (A), Crystal Palace (H), Leicester (A), Brighton (H), Burnley (A), Wolves (A)

Manchester United 

Watford (H), Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Everton (A), Manchester City (H), Chelsea (H), Huddersfield (A), Cardiff (H)

Chelsea

Everton (A), Cardiff (A), West Ham (H), Liverpool (A), Burnley (H), Manchester United (A), Watford (H), Leicester (A), Brighton (H)

After analysing the four sets of fixtures, it’s safe to say that Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have their work cut out for them. Manchester United, too, have a couple of relatively tough fixtures in there, but Arsenal — fourth in the Premier League table — seem to have the easiest run-in and are the favourites to book their place in Europe. 

Also Read: PL GameWeek 30 – As it happened

Avatar
Sushan Chakraborty
A mainstream computer engineer with a passion for the obscure. Loves music, lives football, and is always up for a cup of Americano.