With only two matches to go for most teams, the race to Premier League top four has become interesting, especially with the upsets and surprises that took place over the last weekend.
In the curtain raiser of the last Premier League weekend, Brighton & Hove Albion got the better of Manchester United and that win ensured their stay in the British top flight while it has potentially made it possible for Tottenham to leapfrog Manchester United in the second spot. Meanwhile, Tottenham also suffered a shocking and narrow defeat against West Bromwich in the last weekend’s fixture. And finally, in the most crucial game, Chelsea managed to snatch a 1-0 win over Liverpool, which has opened up their chances of making it to top four. Arsenal, banking on their 5-0 thrashing of Burnley, are set to finish sixth this season. Following is how the top table of the Premier League look at the moment:
|Manchester United||West Ham (A), Watford (H)|
|Liverpool||Brighton & Hove Albion (H)|
|Tottenham||Newcastle United (H), Leicester City (H)|
|Chelsea||Huddersfield (H), Newcastle United (A)|
|Arsenal||Leicester City (A), Huddersfield (A)|
It is evident that Manchester United need to get a single point from the last two games to finish second, and that is likely to happen. Tottenham can be the third with two wins from two matches. But, if they fail to get full points against Newcastle and Leicester, both Chelsea and Liverpool will have the opportunity to go above them and Mauricio Pochettino’s men will not want that after an otherwise decent season.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have got a huge lifeline following the recent results. Liverpool lost points against West Bromwich and Stoke City, before suffering the narrow defeat against the Blues. And that has made it possible for Antonio Conte’s men to see a silver lining in a lacklustre campaign. They now need to get victories over Huddersfield and Newcastle, and hope for another miracle from Brighton when they face Liverpool in the final Premier League gameweek.
Realistically, winning over the Terriers and the Magpies should not be a problem for Chelsea, but Mo Salah’s flamboyance and Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane’s brilliance are good enough to get the better of Brighton. And thus, it looks like Liverpool can finish at 75 points. If the above predictions are true, Chelsea will also have 75 points at the end of the season. Moreover, should Spurs get a win and a draw from the last two matches, they will also have the same number of points. And that makes it immensely interesting, as the goal difference will come into play in that case. It goes without saying that the fight to top four is going to be a scintillating affair altogether.
Here is what the teams need to keep in mind for the upcoming two matches:
Manchester United: If they get at least a point from the two matches, they’ll finish 2nd.
Liverpool: If they win against Brighton and Chelsea do not score 15 goals in the last two matches, they will secure a Champions League spot. Should they draw or lose against Brighton, it will be dependent on whether Chelsea and Spurs are also losing points. Most likely, the Reds will have to finish fifth in that case.
Tottenham: With wins against Newcastle and Leicester, they can actually finish third in the final Premier League standing. If they lose points in either of the two matches, realistically, they might not finish in the top four. Chelsea and Liverpool will join the two Manchester sides in that case.
Chelsea: They have to win their two matches to make the best possible case for themselves. Moreover, they should focus on scoring more, as goal difference might also come into play on the final matchday of Premier League 2017/18.
Who do you think will finally make it to Premier League top four? Share your thoughts in the comments below!