Premier League top-four race preview: The battle to be in next season’s Champions League is set to go down to the wire as six teams – Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Westham and Wolves fighting for two slots.
City are six-point clear of Liverpool on the log having played one more game than their fierce rival Liverpool. Manchester City 3-2 defeat in the hands of Tottenham Hotspur open the adjudged one-horse title race with two teams set to battle for he most coveted Premier League title.
Liverpool face Leeds City on Wednesday, a crucial match in the title race, as a win will put them three-point behind City with a mouthwatering visit to Ethiad Stadium lies ahead of The Reds.
Chelsea sit third on the log, thirteen-point behind city with one game in hand but the hope of winning the league fading .The winter poor run of form due to Injuries and Covid saw Chelsea slip from the top of the Premier League.
“We will not say no but it’s quite hard. Everything is hard, that’s the challenge and what we love. 16 points (behind Man City) sounds too much, is too much to where we want to be and what we demand of ourselves, this is the reality.” he said.
“We have to reach our targets. We should not get confused in thinking about the Premier League. We still have to realise we are in a race for the top four right now, it’s a huge thing in the Premier League in general. Tuchel said.
With Liverpool & City battling for the title and the top two slots, for this reason; we have focused on the clubs currently placed third to eighth, weighing up their top-four chances & key fixtures remaining in 2021/22 Premier League Campaign.
Matches played: 25
A few months ago, many were backing Chelsea to challenge Manchester city and Liverpool for the Premier League title but a poor run of form in the winter months saw Chelsea slip from the top of the Premier League table as Tuchel’s side was hampered by injuries and Covid.
Chelsea have dropped seven points in their last five league games but their top-four credentials are self-evident; the reigning world champions have a game in hand and a four-point lead over fourth-place Man Utd.
Chelsea’s next five league fixtures as things stand look eminently winnable, too: Burnley (A), Newcastle (H), Norwich (A), Brentford (H) and Southampton (A).
Finishing in the top four should be fairly comfortable for Thomas Tuchel’s team and you would fear for his future at the club should Champions League qualification escape them.
At Chelsea that’s the minimum expected of any head coach.
Westham (H) – Apr 24
Wolves (H) – May 07
Manchester United (A) – May 15
Matches Played: 26
Manchester United have been In & Out in the Premiership race this season despite the appointment of Ralf Ragnick.
Having started the season as one of the premiership Contenders,unfortunately now, they would gladly settle for a place in the Champions League this season as they cannot afford to miss out.
After a wobble display against Brighton & Southampton, dropping four points in the process, Manchester United back-to-back win against Brighton and Leeds United ensure they remain fourth on the log before a tie with relegation-threatned Watford at Old Traford on Saturday and ahead of daunting ties with three of the Premiership top sides[Man City (A), Tottenham (H), Liverpool(A]
Still in Champions League and more matches with Premier League top-four rivals could prove very difficult for the 20 times Premiership winners to handle.
You think about how long Manchester United will be in the Champions League, that could play a part,” said Jamie Carragher on CBS.
After watching Tottenham beat City on Saturday, Man Utd must make one or two statement wins of their own in the not-too-distant future.
While Manchester United fans will be buoyed by the return of Paul Pogba and the insurgence of their both Bruno Fernandez and Cristano Ronaldo, the defense is still always calamity waiting to happen as witnessed in 4-2 victory over Leeds city on Sunday.
Man City (A) Sunday Mar 6
Tottenham (H) – Saturday Mar 12
Liverpool (A) – Sunday Mar 20
Leicester (H) – Saturday Apr 2
Arsenal (A) – Saturday Apr 23
Chelsea (H) – Sunday May 15
Games Played: 26
West Ham enjoyed a fantansic start of the season beating Liverpool and Chelsea in the process. Despite the back-to-back defeats to Wolves and Man City, followed by defeats to Arsenal and Southampton in December, Westham failed to sign anyone during the January transfer window which might prove too costly for the Hammers to handle at the end of the season.
But, David Moyes’ biggest blow this season has been losing his key central defenders Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma to injury.
In spite the state of things, they bounced back admirably sitting fifth on the log whilst playing more matches than their top four rivals and also still in contention for both FA Cup & Europa League.
But, West Ham’s run-in to the season looks tricky, with trips to Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Brighton to come. They also face Wolves, Arsenal and Man City at home while also still in contention for both FA Cup & Europa League.
Wolves (H) – Sunday
Liverpool (A) – Saturday Mar 5
Tottenham (A) – Sunday Mar 20
Chelsea (A) – Saturday Apr 23
Arsenal (H) – Saturday Apr 30
Man City (H) – Sunday May 15
Brighton (A) – Sunday May 22
Matches Played: 23
Arsenal find themselves in the champions League top-four race after a torrid start of the season. The turnaround Mikel Arteta overseen has been nothing short of incredible as the Gunners currently sit in sixth with three games in hand but ‘there’s still long way to go.’
Arsenal face Wolves at home on Thursday in a crucial battle in the top-four. While Arsenal have been in ease playing teams in the bottom half of the table – bar Everton, they haven’t beaten any teams currently in the Premier League top-four (Played five and lost all)
With Liverpool coming up, as well as outstanding games against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, it’s critical that Arsenal acquire an advantage in the coming weeks.
But though there is pressure, there are few distractions. Arsenal have no Champions League or Europa League football, nor are they still in either domestic cup and will be fully dedicating their efforts solely on achieving a coveted spot in the Champions League and also playing most of their daunting ties at Emirates Stadium could be a big boost for the Arteta’s men, who are currently the third ‘best home team’ in Premiership this season.
Wolves (H) – Thursday Mar 24
Leicester (H) – Sunday Mar 13
Liverpool (H), Wednesday Mar 16
Brighton (H) Saturday April 9
Manchester United (H) Saturday April 23
West Ham (A) – Saturday April 30
Chelsea (A) – TBC,
Tottenham (A) – TBC
Matches Played: 24
Wolves is definitely the ‘surprise’ team on this list. After three successive 1-0 losses under new manager Bruno Lage that left them 18th in the league, Bruno Lage overseen an unfathomable turnaround with victories over Aston Villa, Westham, Southampton, Brighton, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Leicester just to mention but a few.
Although they are the third-lowest scoring team in the division with 19 Premier League goals, their defensive nous has been a key component of their rise up the table as they have conceded just 18 times this season, a record that is bettered only by leaders Man City(17).
The coming back of sensational young star Pedro Neto would surely offer Wolves more help in the final third as they seek another bid for European football.
Arsenal (A) – Thursday Feb 24
West Ham (A) – Sunday Feb 27
Man City (H) – Saturday Apr 16
Brighton (H) – Saturday Apr 30
Chelsea (A) – Saturday May 7
Liverpool (A) – Sunday May 22
Matches Played: 23
Few things banish the pessimism of three consecutive league defeats like a sensational 3-2 win over reigning champions Manchester City.
Speaking after the Wolves defeat, “When you lose two games in a row at home and a previous game against Chelsea, a team that wants to fight for the Champions League is impossible.” but a stunning 3-2 win at Manchester City has got Spurs dreaming again of returning to the Champions League.
“But for sure, the win against Man City can give you confidence and trust in what you’re doing. We can improve a lot.”
At the moment, seven points separate fourth-placed Manchester United and eighth-placed Tottenham with Tottenham having three games in hand.
Their next three Premier League games – Burnley (A), Leeds United (A) and Everton (H) look winnable before a huge clash at home with Man Utd and a trip to Anfield towards the end of the season.
Also, including what will be one of the most important North London Derbies in recent memory when it is eventually rescheduled as they currently sit three points behind Arsenal having played both number of games.
Tottenham also are currently out of any competitions with Premier League top-four place their solely only aim.
Manchester United (A) – Saturday Mar
West Ham (H) – Saturday Mar 19
Brighton (H) – Saturday Apr 16
Leicester (H) – Saturday Apr 30
Liverpool (A) – Saturday May 7
Arsenal (H) – TBC
Qualifying for the Champions League is hugely important feat as the feelings of playing in Europe’s elite club competition cannot be compared to none. It helps keep the manager, current stars, supporters happy, and a big boost in enticing better players to your club, be it emerging talent or established stars.
Clearly, there is a lot at stake!