Liverpool are actually confirmed as Premier League champions, as Jurgen Klopp’s staff sealed the title with seven video games left to play, however the 2019-20 season continues to be on target for a dramatic race in pursuit of Champions League qualification.
Until Manchester Metropolis are profitable of their bid to overturn a two-year ban from UEFA’s membership competitions — a verdict on their latest attraction to the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport is due in July — fifth place can be sufficient to ensure a spot in subsequent season’s Champions League.
Going into the midweek fixtures, six factors separate Leicester Metropolis in third from Manchester United in sixth, with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham 4 factors adrift of United in seventh spot. The race for the Champions League now appears to be like set to boil right down to a battle between Leicester, Chelsea, Wolves and United for the three remaining qualification berths, though Spurs will nonetheless declare to have faint hopes of crashing the get together.
So how will it shake down within the ultimate weeks, and which golf equipment are more than likely to clinch a passport to Europe’s premier membership competitors?
RUN-IN: Everton (a), C Palace (h), Arsenal (a), Bournemouth (h), Sheff Utd (h), Spurs (a), Man Utd (h).
Make no mistake: Leicester are clinging on to their place within the high 5, and their greatest hope of staying there might relaxation with the chasing pack operating out of time to catch them.
On Jan. 1, Brendan Rodgers’ staff have been in second place, 15 factors away from sixth-place Spurs and 14 factors forward of fifth-place United, however their type has since evaporated they usually have received simply two of their previous 10 league video games.
Leicester now sit 14th within the Premier League desk, and their hunch has coincided with star striker Jamie Vardy’s. The 33-year-old had netted 17 Premier League objectives earlier than the top of December, however he has scored simply twice in 2020, with each objectives coming in a 4-0 win towards Aston Villa in March. Vardy has stopped scoring and Leicester’s outcomes have dried up as a consequence.
Crucially, Leicester have factors within the bag and stay third, however their ultimate two video games are starting to look enormous. It could all come right down to their final-day conflict towards United on the King Energy Stadium.
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RUN-IN: West Ham (a), Watford (h), C Palace (a), Sheff Utd (a), Norwich (h), Liverpool (a), Wolves (h).
Chelsea have emerged from the 100-day shutdown trying refreshed and able to rediscover their early-season type, which has been sufficient to maintain them within the high 4 all through the marketing campaign.
Previous to the shutdown, after they suffered a doubtlessly damaging dwelling defeat towards Manchester United in February, Frank Lampard’s staff appeared to be hitting a wall and Champions League qualification was starting to slide from their grasp. However with Christian Pulisic producing some inspiring performances within the post-restart wins towards Aston Villa and Manchester Metropolis, Chelsea are actually seeking to climb to 3rd fairly than try to carry on to a top-five spot.
On present type, they need to count on to financial institution most factors from their subsequent 5 video games, however the crunch will come of their ultimate two. They might have to beat champions Liverpool at Anfield to make sure that their final-day conflict at dwelling to Wolves doesn’t turn out to be a Champions League decider.
With Wolves and Manchester United each having comfy run-ins, Chelsea might have to win six of their final seven video games to make certain of a Champions League spot.
Frank Lebeouf believes Wolves will push Chelsea and Man Utd all the way in which for the coveted Champions League spot.
RUN-IN: Arsenal (h), Sheff Utd (a), Everton (h), Burnley (a), C Palace (h), Chelsea (a).
Solely Liverpool have taken extra factors from their final 10 video games than Wolves, who’ve received six and misplaced simply as soon as — towards Liverpool — since Jan. 1.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s staff began their season approach again on July 25 with a Europa League qualifier towards Crusaders, however the Portuguese coach has been in a position to maintain his gamers on target for the Champions League, regardless of the heavy fixture workload. Three successive wins towards West Ham, Bournemouth and Villa have put Wolves firmly in rivalry for a Champions League spot, they usually haven’t conceded a objective in any of these victories.
Saturday’s conflict with Arsenal at Molineux is a significant check for each groups — the Gunners have to win to maintain their Europa League hopes alive; Wolves have to maintain their successful run going — and three factors towards Mikel Arteta’s males will give Wolves the assumption that they will end as excessive as third.
Raul Jimenez’s objectives — he has 15 within the league this season — are conserving Wolves within the hunt. They may even safe qualification for the Champions League for the primary time since 1959-60 earlier than they journey to Chelsea on the ultimate day.
Shaka Hislop appears to be like to Man United’s final recreation of the yr vs. Leicester with each groups vying for a UCL spot.
RUN-IN: Brighton (a), Bournemouth (h), Aston Villa (a), Southampton (h), C Palace (a), West Ham (h), Leicester (a).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s staff are unbeaten in 14 video games in all competitions. They journey to Brighton on Tuesday understanding a win will transfer them to inside simply three factors of third-placed Leicester.
United have momentum and the shutdown labored of their favour, with each Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba in a position to overcome long-term accidents in an effort to rejoin the battle for Champions League qualification. The contribution of January signings Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo has additionally given United a carry, and they’re going to imagine they win all of their remaining fixtures.
Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and a bunch of different visitors every single day as soccer plots a path via the coronavirus disaster. Stream on ESPN+ (U.S. solely).
Inconsistency has been United’s drawback all season, although, and any dropped factors towards strugglers or mid-table groups within the coming video games may derail their cost for the highest 5, particularly with Chelsea and Wolves in such spectacular type. But when United win their subsequent six video games (and that’s definitely possible) they will journey to Leicester on the ultimate day with qualification already safe.
THE OUTSIDERS: Tottenham, Sheffield United, Arsenal
The most effective hope for Spurs, Sheffield United and Arsenal is a spot within the Europa League, however a successful run between now and the top of the season could possibly be sufficient for one in every of them to sneak into the highest 5 if the groups forward slip up.
Nonetheless, it appears to be like to be a tall order for all of them. Thursday’s conflict between the Blades and Spurs at Bramall Lane is a must-win for either side, whereas the North London derby between Spurs and Arsenal on July 12 could possibly be essential or, by that stage, only a battle for native pleasure.
Arsenal merely must win at Wolves this weekend to have any hope, however with Leicester, Spurs and Liverpool nonetheless to play, Mikel Arteta’s facet look to have a mountain to climb.
FINAL PREDICTED STANDINGS
third – Chelsea
4th – Wolves
fifth – Manchester Utd
sixth – Leicester Metropolis
seventh – Tottenham
eighth – Arsenal
ninth – Sheffield United