The Premier League run-in is here and as the business end of the season approaches, there will be plenty of drama, left to unfold as the season draws to a close on 23rd May. Manchester City’s slip up against Chelsea on the weekend delayed the champagne party, however, with just one win needed from the last three, it looks highly uncertain that there would be any major drama in City regaining the League title.
🧐📊🆕 Premier League run-in analysis: After a wild weekend, what's the latest in the top four battle?
Six into two doesn't go… 👇https://t.co/RVYArbelsd
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 9, 2021
But is there still a forecast of drama to be witnessed in the Premier League? A host of clubs are still in contention for a top-four finish. Manchester United confirmed their top four finish on Sunday with a come-from-behind win over Aston Villa, leaving two spots still open.
The consolation prize for those finishing in fifth and sixth will be guaranteed to participate in next season’s Europa League, only if the winner of the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Leicester City has already qualified for the Champions League. A spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League for whichever team finishes seventh is also under contention this season.
CHELSEA – 64 pts
Remaining fixtures — Arsenal (h), Leicester (h), Aston Villa (a)
Mathematically Chelsea’s top-four finish is far from done and dusted, however, it is increasingly hard to envisage how a team that has defeated Manchester City twice in three weeks could collapse and throw away their top-four chances. Since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, Chelsea have been the second-best team in England, and their form in the run up to the Champions League final makes them strong favourites to secure a top-four finish. They do need to navigate some tricky fixtures though, including a London derby against Arsenal on Wednesday.
LEICESTER – 63 pts
Remaining fixtures — Manchester United (a), Chelsea (a), Tottenham (h)
The anxiety will be surely creeping at the King Power Stadium after the Foxes lost 4-2 at home against Newcastle United. Leicester will be aware of the run-in from hell they face ahead of them. Three points against a Magpies would have definitely given them sufficient breathing room. Instead, they disastrously collapsed, conceding four goals in 73 minutes to a team that had not scored that many in a Premier League game since July.
39 – Only Manchester United 6-2 Leeds United in December (43) saw more efforts at goal in a Premier League match this season than the 39 shots in tonight's match between Leicester City and Newcastle United. Entertaining. pic.twitter.com/xgEdXNmKOy
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 7, 2021
Leicester’s form has been noteworthy poor as they have won just two of their last six Premier League games. The Foxes missed out on the top four last season too after a miserable run of form towards the end jeopardised their hopes of playing in the Champions League. With West Ham and Liverpool on their tail, Rodgers outfit will have to return to winning ways soon enough starting against Manchester United tomorrow.
WEST HAM – 58 pts
Remaining fixtures — Brighton (a), West Brom (a), Southampton (h)
The rather surprise story of this season could quite possibly hit a speed bump as the pathway to a top-four finish opens up for West Ham. The Hammers’ chances were derailed on Sunday, as they lost at home, 1-0, to Everton. However, David Moyes’ side have an ideal run-in of fixtures against teams whose fate this season has largely been sealed.
📊 Most times hitting the woodwork in PL this season:
21 WEST HAM
20 Tottenham, Aston Villa
18 Leeds, Man City pic.twitter.com/2Rkcb590Xn
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 9, 2021
More importantly for Moyes, the return of key players in time for the run-in like Michail Antonio will surely add a boost. Declan Rice is also expected to rejoin the squad soon. When those two starts the Hammers only lost to the big six in Premier League games. With the likes of Said Benrahma and Pablo Fornals finding form at the right time, there might just be that hope at the London Stadium to qualify for the Champions League.
LIVERPOOL – 57pts
Remaining fixtures — Manchester United (a), West Brom (a), Burnley (a), Crystal Palace (h)
Liverpool’s disastrous season has continued to rock their Achilles Heel as an injury to Ozan Kabak has forced Jurgen Klopp into naming a new centre back pairing of Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips. Kabak joins Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip on the sidelines.
Class @MoSalah cross 👌
Boss Sadio header ⚽️
A unique view of Mane's opener from last night 👏⚽️ pic.twitter.com/t92LiIV29V
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 9, 2021
Their game against Southampton was heading to a typical Anfield farce of 2021 where Liverpool created a host of chances but struggled to finish. However, the win has put them emphatically back in the reckoning as they could certainly mount a charge for the Champions League spots with four games to go.
TOTTENHAM – 56pts
Remaining fixtures — Wolves (h), Aston Villa (h), Leicester (a)
Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat away to Leeds United was the final nail in the coffin to their faltering hopes of Champions League qualification. The humiliating loss to Leeds United was defined by Spurs’s familiar flaws this season. Heavily reliant on the services of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son to create and score, Tottenham’s other attackers flickered into life inconsistently all season.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 8, 2021
Dele Alli excelled in the first half while Gareth Bale was a passenger in the second and their defence struggled with Eric Dier looking off the pace. Spurs are heading for another season in the Europa League which looks more realistic with three games to go.
EVERTON – 55 pts
Remaining fixtures — Aston Villa (a), Sheffield United (h), Wolves (h)
The Champions League is well beyond the Merseysiders’ reach by now, however seventh being good enough to guarantee a place in the Europa Conference League Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain firmly in the European mix despite their recent struggles. Everton picked up three crucial points on Sunday, at expense of top-four challengers West Ham on the road. Prior to that, however, they had just one win in their previous seven league games. They dropped points to the likes of Crystal Palace, Burnley, Brighton and Aston Villa.