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Premier League top-four race preview: Highlighting Chelsea, Manchester United,Arsenal… & Tottenham form & fixtures 

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NYON, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: The trophy and match ball pictured during the UEFA Champions League 2021/22 Knockout Stage Match Ball shoot at the UEFA Headquarters, The House of the European Football, on September 14, 2021, in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Richard Juilliart - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

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. 

( The UEFA Champions League 2021/22 Knockout Stage Match Ball shoot  Getty Images)

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.

Manchester City on course of winning the fourth Premier League titles in the space of five years, can Liverpool stop them again? (Getty Images)

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.

Premier League Top-half Table & Standings. Credit (Skysports) 

CHELSEA

Position: 3rd

Matches played: 25

Points: 50

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.

Hakim Ziyech late strike at Selhurst Park earned Chelsea a crucial three-point as the race for Champions League qualification hots up.(Getty Images)

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).

Should Chelsea finish in the top four this season, they definitely have the best season having won Super Cup, Fifa Club world cup, and still have Carabao Final plus UCL still in sight (Getty Images)

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.

Key Fixtures:

Westham (H) – Apr 24

Wolves (H) – May 07

Manchester United (A) – May 15

Arsenal (H)-TBC

Winning Champions League automatically guarantee you a place, Can they do it again? (Getty Images)

Manchester United

Position: 4th 

Points: 46

Matches Played: 26

Manchester United have been In & Out in the Premiership race this season despite the appointment of Ralf Ragnick.

Manchester United have not won three consecutive matches in all competitions this season. (Getty Images)

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.

Can they make it three consecutive wins against Athletico Madrid in Champions League R16? (Getty Images)

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.

Currently fourth on the log, Manchester United haven’t beaten any of the three teams above them A visit to Etihad stadium awaits March 6th. Can they pull it off like Tottenham? (Getty Images)

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.

With goals against Brighton & Leeds, Bruno Fernandez has scored back-to-back for the first time in Epl this season. (Getty Images)

Key fixtures: 

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

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has made more saves (96) more than any goalkeeper in the Premier League campaign this season.(Getty Images)

Westham

Position: 5th 

Points: 42

Games Played: 26

Bowen & Antonio have contributed to 67% of Westham goals in Epl this season (Getty Images)

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.

 “As long as we are around the mix and European places, that will be really good but if we can hang on the coat tails of teams above…that is what we will try and do.” Moyes

Key fixtures: 

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

If they are going to reach a place in European competition, West Ham will have to do it the hard way. (Getty Images)

ARSENAL

Position: 6th

Points: 42

Matches Played: 23

The average age of Arsenal’s starting XI this season is 24 years & 252 days. Only 4 sides have previously finished in the top 4 of the Premier League with an average age of 24 or below. Leeds 1999/00 (3rd) Liverpool 1999/00 (4th) Arsenal 2008/09 (4th) Tottenham 2015/16 (3rd)[opta, Getty] Images)
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.

Bukayo Saka has scored five goals in his last six Premier League matches while Emile Smith Rowe has scored five goals in his last eight Premier League starts. Getty Images)

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.

Key fixtures: 

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

(opta) Arsenal welcome Wolves to Emirates stadium on Thursday having failed to win any of their last four Premier League home games against Wolves (W0 D3 L1).(Getty Images)

WOLVES 

Position: 7th 

Points: 40

Matches Played: 24

After 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, Wolves have won their next two matches – Tottenham & Leicester  (Getty Images)

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.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Pedro Neto of Wolverhampton Wanderers shows appreciation to the fans following victory in the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City at Molineux on February 20, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

Key fixtures:

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

Wolves welcome back Pedro Neto10 months after breaking his kneecap at Fulham

TOTTENHAM

Position: 8th

Points: 39

Matches Played: 23

Tottenham 3-2 victory Manchester City revives the awaken top four dreams

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.

Tottenham new boy Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring against Manchester City. Getty Images)

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.

Key fixtures: 

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

Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have now assisted one another for 36 #PL goals, the joint-most of any pairing in the competition’s history, moving level with Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. Can they fire Tottenham to the Champions League?

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!

 

 

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