The race for top four

DORTMUND, GERMANY - MARCH 05: Manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino gestures during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Westfalen Stadium on March 05, 2019 in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

The race for top four

Two spots remain in the top four. With Tottenham losing momentum recently; Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are all still in the race for fourth, but who will claim the last two available European spots for next season?

Each teams’ run in:

Spurs:

With Spurs being third it would only be fair to rate their run in first. In their remaining 7 games, Pochettino’s Tottenham are still yet to face Manchester City and Liverpool away yet.

Although on paper this would seem impossible Spurs have convincingly beaten United away and Chelsea at home, and with a bit of luck scraped a point against Arsenal. With a fully firing Son Heung-min and both Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in the team, the two remaining games vs Liverpool and City should definitely be ones to watch.

Spurs’ full run in:

  • Liverpool vs Spurs
  • Spurs vs Brighton
  • Spurs vs Huddersfield
  • Man City vs Spurs
  • Spurs vs West Ham
  • Bournemouth vs Spurs
  • Spurs vs Everton
Rating the run in: 8/10

Yet to face City and Liverpool away there definitely is caution Spurs could easily slip up a once comfortable points gap above their rivals. However, this is balanced out by 5 other games which on paper should be winnable. Whether Spurs will have the bottle, we will find out over the coming weeks.

Arsenal:

Having now played every team in the top 6, Arsenal’s run in for a Champions League spot shouldn’t be an unrealistic expectation for the Gunners.

Having brushed aside 3 out of 5 of the top 6, but having struggled to the likes of Wolves, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace, Emery’s unpredictable Gunners will have to cut down on defensive errors that have cost them points before.

Full run in:

  • Arsenal vs Newcastle
  • Everton vs Arsenal                                                                     
  • Watford vs Arsenal                                                                     
  • Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
  • Leicester vs Arsenal                                                                 
  • Arsenal vs Brighton
  • Burnley vs Arsenal
  • Wolves vs Arsenal (TBC)
Rating the run in: 4/10

A fairly straightforward run in for the Gunners on paper, but with Arsenal’s track record of defensive errors, Arsenal will have to focus like they did in the matches vs Man. United or Chelsea. But the question with Arsenal is consistency if Arsenal turn up there is no reason why Arsenal can’t stay in the top four.

However, the only Achilles’ heel for the Gunners could be if they focus more so on the Europa League. This would be doubtful, but with Emery still in his first season will be keen to show he is a top four manager.

Man United

Of all the remaining run-ins for the top four, United have a very tough fixture list. With a Manchester Derby and a visit from Chelsea left United must, to secure a top-four spot win both. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel, United have picked 32 of 39 points. If they had started the league with this form, United would have been 3rd, only two points adrift of first.

Full run in:

  • Man United vs Watford
  • Wolves vs  Man United
  • West Ham vs Man United
  • Everton vs Man United     
  • Man United vs Man City
  • Man United vs Chelsea
  • Huddersfield vs Man United
  • Man United vs Cardiff
Rating the run in: 8.5/10

With their current form, on paper United should easily get a top 4 spot. However, with their epic comeback against PSG United will be tempted to shift their focus on the Champions League. With the Champions League looking more winnable this year the Red Devils will have to try not to put their eggs in one basket, at risk they could drop points. Furthermore, holding them back is points dropped under Mourinho. Although this may seem irrelevant with points dropped 9 out of a possible 26 points in games against mid-table teams. This may not seem like much, but if those 9 points were won, United would be third and 8 points clear of Tottenham.

Chelsea

Chelsea fans will be disappointed with their season so far, with questions over Sarri and his philosophies. However, their 8-0 battering of Dynamo Kiev will give Chelsea a huge confidence boost. Three points adrift of Arsenal in fourth and four points Tottenham in third Chelsea have a big job on their hands. With trips to Old Trafford and Anfield that job seems to get bigger. Adding to this, tough games away to Leicester and home to Burnley will be must wins for the Blues. With this Chelsea will have to use all their confidence gained in Kiev to make sure they succeed. However, failing this there’s always the simple task of just winning the Europa League.

Full run in:

  • Chelsea vs Brighton (TBC)  
  • Everton vs Chelsea 
  • Cardiff vs Chelsea 
  • Chelsea vs West Ham
  • Liverpool vs Chelsea 
  • Chelsea vs Burnley
  • Man United vs Chelsea                                                             
  • Chelsea vs Watford
  • Leicester vs Chelsea 
Rating the run in: 9/10

With a big gap to close and little games to do it, it is unlikely Chelsea will finish in a top-four spot. However, still in the Europa League, Sarri will most likely to go all out to win as this would guarantee Champions League football next season. However, with Napoli, Arsenal, Benfica and Villarreal still in the competition, it will be a tough road.

My Prediction

My prediction for the end of the season based on form and fixtures is:

  1. Man City
  2. Liverpool
  3. Arsenal
  4. Man United
  5. Tottenham
  6. Chelsea

With Arsenal with the easiest fixtures out of the four teams and United in form, I can see these being the two teams that make the top four. Personally, with Chelsea having struggled all season and Tottenham dropping points, in my view, I believe they will miss out.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

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