Premier League Opinion: Battle for 3rd place – A Run-in Analysis
The Premier League season has slowly begun drawing to a close as all 19 teams, except for Brighton and Hove Albion, have played at least 32 games. Now, there are just 6 games left to play and a lot could be decided in coming rounds of fixtures.
While the title-race between Manchester City and Liverpool obviously draws maximum attention, the race for 3rd place is one to watch out for as well. Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are the usual suspects involved in what promises to be a gripping finale to what has been a truly enjoyable Premier League season.
Here’s our Run-in Analysis for the 4 teams vying for the 2 remaining Champions League spots:
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side were handed a massive defeat last time out when they succumbed to a late Toby Alderweireld own-goal which gifted Liverpool the 2-1 victory. Their reliance on Harry Kane has gotten to an alarming state and there are issues to solve in the Spurs Camp.
They have a game against relegated side Huddersfield Town coming up next after which they travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City, a couple of days after playing there in the Champions League. The rest of fixtures after that should give Pochettino confidence of being able to seal a European spot.
Arsenal’s unexpected defeat at Goodison Park certainly hasn’t helped their cause as their apparent point-lead over the chasing pack is now gone thanks to some shoddy defending and completely mundane attacking play. Their defence has looked quite shaky and will by Unai Emery’s main worry going into this crucial period.
The fixtures that they have remaining to play could come as a saving grace as they have been handed a relatively easy run-in which involves none of the top-6 teams. Away games at Wolves and Watford form their biggest league threats as the thought of facing Napoli in the Europa League must be giving Emery nightmares.
Chelsea were able to comfortably surpass the threat that was presented by Chris Hughton’s Brighton side last time out and showed good confidence in the way they moved the ball around. If the earlier parts of Chelsea’s season is anything to go by, seeing that win as a sign of improvement could turn out to be a grave mistake.
Their fixtures don’t get any easier from here on in either as their next away game sees them travel to Anfield to do battle with Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing Liverpool. After this crucial tie that could have massive implications on the title itself, they also travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United at the end of April.
Their recent defeat to Wolves would certainly have come as a massive reality check for both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the faithful fans of Manchester United alike as they were unexpectedly torn to shreds by the dynamic Wolves attacking duo. Their football has certainly improved and they will be looking to get back on track.
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The run-in that United must now withstand sees them face both city rivals Manchester City and London side Chelsea at Old Trafford on back-to-back weekend. If they’re able to get through this week with maximum points, then getting into the top-4 shouldn’t be too much of a worry for Ole.