In a little over three weeks’ time the curtain will finally fall on the 2020/21 Premier League season. With clubs having no more than five games remaining and the majority with four left, the margin for error or losing the odd game is getting smaller.
Whilst there are sides in-between the race for Europe and to beat the drop unable to make moves upwards to cause a difference in that respect, there is still a lot to play for around both those areas.
Whilst Manchester City, Manchester Utd, and Leicester City are almost set for a place at Europe’s top table next season the one spot remaining behind them is still being very well contested.
Chelsea might hold pole position at the moment but none of the chasing quartet are giving up hope that the West London outfit will drop enough points for them to sneak in and snatch that coveted fourth spot.
Despite a game in hand for Everton, that might prove a taller order with a fair inferior goal difference to the Blues and a gap still of six points when both teams are level on games played providing they pick up the points.
Their Merseyside rivals Liverpool also have a game in hand, coming from Sunday’s postponement at Old Trafford where the protests against the Manchester Utd owners went above and beyond, concerns about safety for the players and officials means a new date is awaited.
The same applies to the Reds as well, win that game and the gap is going to be four more points still to be made up, too much maybe with so few games left to play.
Tottenham might find themselves slightly better off than both Merseyside clubs and with a better goal difference, but they too are points behind, and in all three cases they are asking Chelsea to lose two of their final four games whilst they win them all and cruise into the Champions League.
It’s a tall order for any one of those three clubs, there is no room for a defeat at any stage now and that is the pressure between now and 23rd May. One further club however are that little bit closer and it is from them that Chelsea will feel the major threat comes from.
West Ham’s Monday night win at Burnley is where the pressure can really come from. Three points behind having played the same number of games is a more feasible target and challenge and with both sides facing contrasting fixtures this coming weekend it could be where the twist in the tail comes.
The Blues head to champions elect Manchester City whilst the Hammers host Everton, a win for the East London side would draw them level on points with their West London neighbours but wouldn’t be enough to lift them into fourth place without a sizeable win for themselves and a sizeable defeat for Chelsea.
It would also effectively knock Everton’s chances of gate-crashing the party to almost zero, four wins needed for the Toffees from the final four should they lose this one at the London Stadium and that might still not be enough.
Chelsea though remain the favourites to hold onto the spot they currently hold and will be looking to capitalise on any slip from Leicester City as they only hold a two point lead for third place, surely the Foxes wouldn’t let a top four place slip from their grasp for two years running?
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