The Premier League Race to the Champions League

Premier League's top-four race analysed: How can Leicester ...

The race for the final two Champions League places is very much in the balance as the Premier League season concludes in the next seven days. By next Sunday the fate of Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester City will be known as the 2019/20 season finally comes to an end.

Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham has left Leicester sweating on their place in the top four as they await the results to come this midweek as both their rivals for a top four spot are in action. Had they come away from North London with a win it would have put destiny into their own hands given they host the Red Devils in the final game at the King Power Stadium, that can still be the case should West Ham come away with the win on Wednesday evening. 

Before it gets to the weekend though, Chelsea can confirm their place with a win at champions Liverpool and given the rugged form of Jurgen Klopp’s team since the re-start, the Blues will be confident of picking up all three points having also brushed aside their top four rival in the FA Cup over the weekend.

United host a West Ham side who are almost safe, goal difference needing to take a massive swing to relegate the Hammers and the poor form of the two sides currently in the bottom three should mean David Moyes team can not worry too much about defeat at Old Trafford. 

Qualification for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will represent a huge change in not just the club’s fortunes, but his own. Having faced calls for his sacking over a majority of the first half of the season Solskjaer has moulded a more exciting, dynamic and vibrant United which has led to their charge up the table and in with a chance of Champions League football once again.

Brendan Rodgers has had Leicester City in the top four positions for most of the season, but his side have been very up and down since the season resumed and two losses in the last three games have seen him nervously looking over his shoulder while United’s run gathers pace. Granted they have suffered more than most from injuries and with a smaller squad depth replacing the quality hasn’t been easy.

However, facing United on the final day becomes a winner takes all kind of clash, goal difference and points tally were both equal ahead of the dismaying draw at home against West Ham and with it there could as little a point between the two clubs making no room for error on either side come Sunday afternoon.

One goal could well be enough to win that game, both sides concede very little despite Spurs finding the way past Kasper Schmeichel three times over the weekend. Firepower in Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to name a few suggests this game is unlikely to end 0-0, it could even end up as the winner needing to outscore the other.

Whichever of the sides finally take the two places, all need significant investment over the transfer window to get closer to the top two next season, losing 11 games in a season will certainly not be tolerated at Chelsea whilst United need to turn those draws into victories. 

Leicester will need to add depth if they want to maintain themselves inside the top six for a second year running, whatever happens it promises to be an intriguing final day of the season.

Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37