The fight for the top 4 in the Barclays Premier League
After this Wednesday’s games in England, there are only 10 rounds of fixtures left in the Barclays Premier League, before we get to know who gets crowned the new English champion and who manages to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League through a any of the top 4 spots.
Chelsea are currently leading the league with a 5-point lead over second-place Manchester City, and José Mourinho‘s men can still increase that gap since they do have a game in hand over all of their direct competitors in this title race. The Blues have been consistent throughout the whole season so far and even though they don’t hold neither the best defensive nor offensive record in the league, they’ve managed to win several games without playing at their best. That’s usually the mark of the champions and we all know how much José Mourinho works his team and his players to be able to grind out the win even in the toughest of the circumstances.
The reigning champions Manchester City come right behind, but over the last weeks/months, they seem to have already lost some gas in their chase to Chelsea. They were drawn against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League last-16 stage and that tie may have perhaps distracted them a bit from their domestic goals. Nevertheless, they’re most likely going to finish in the top 4 and shouldn’t be slipping many more times in the league if they do get knocked out from Europe by Barça in a couple weeks from now.
With the 2 spots on the top of table appearing to be destined to both Chelsea and Manchester City, it’s a totally different story when we look into the fight for the 3rd and 4th places.
The 3rd place is currently being occupied by Arsenal, with Manchester United right on their tale in 4th place, just one point below their long-time rivals. The Gunners have already had their highs and lows this season, but finishing in the top 4 is certainly one of their main objectives. They still got several big fixtures left in their schedule, with games against Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea headlining their agenda. As for Louis van Gaal‘s men, they didn’t get off to a great start this season and despite some poor performances here and there, they’ve been showing that they can also win games when they don’t play well. Problem is, the Red Devils are probably playing bad more often than they should and it’s not by chance that when look at the odds on the Betfair Football portal, we can that the market is currently rating them with 50% chances of holding on to one of these Champions League spots…
In pursuit for a Champions League ticket for next season are Liverpool in 5th place and the revelation team of the season, Southampton, currently sitting in 6th place. The Reds are only 2 points behind United, while Sunderland still has at least 4 points to catch up on the Old Trafford side. Having in mind we still have 10 fixtures left and that none of these teams have really been exhibiting a terrific form in the Barclays Premier League, it seems safe to say that we can expect tons of excitement and twists in the games we still have ahead this season…
Sources: theguardian.com / thefa.com / skysports.com / espn.co.uk