With Chelsea and Spurs almost definitely occupying the first two positions of the table come the end of the season, the race to fill the remaining Champions League spots is becoming increasingly interesting.
The teams vying for these two positions are Liverpool (currently 3rd), Manchester City (4th), Manchester United (5th), Arsenal(6th) and Everton(7th). While the front runners are of course the first three aforementioned teams I would be hesitant to rule out Arsenal and Everton. However, Arsenal will need to dramatically improve their recent form which has been dreadful to say the least and Everton will need to continue their record breaking current run.
Arsenals recent results include losses to Liverpool, West Brom and Crystal Palace, a draw with Manchester city and most recently a mundane 2-1 victory over lowly Middlesbrough. It almost appears like the players have stopped playing for Arsene Wenger and a finish outside the top 4 for the first time since the 1995-1996 season is the most likely outcome for the gunners. I can’t see them improving on their current 6th position if I’m honest.
Although Everton have the league’s top scorer in their ranks I highly doubt they’ll finish in the top four but I refuse to rule them out all the same. I expect Everton to win this weekend against West Ham and also to pick up three points against Swansea and Watford in gameweeks 36 and 37 respectively, the games which will have huge bearing on their final position come in gameweeks 35 and 38 where a home game against Chelsea and a trip to the Emirates on the final day lie awaiting. Although I’m including them in the race for the top four, similarly like Arsenal, I can’t see them climbing the table.
Although Liverpool are currently in 3rd position with only 6 games remaining, we must not forget that Manchester City (1) and Manchester United (2) have game(s) in hand on the reds. While Manchester United will unquestionably be boosted by their fine victory over league leaders Chelsea last weekend I fear their incompetence in front of goal combined with their Europa League exploits could put pay to their hopes of finishing in the top 4.
Concentrating on the Europa League may not be a bad thing for United as a realistic chance of some much-needed silverware and a possible route to the champions league groups stages via the qualifying play-offs are up for grabs. While finishing in the top four would take a lot of stress away I also see united finishing in their current position of 5th place.
Therefore, in my eyes I see those coveted final two champions league places being taken by those who already occupy them; Liverpool and Manchester City. While I have been very safe so far in my predictions I’m going to suggest that Liverpool and City will have traded places come the end of the season. Really pushing the boat out, I know! Liverpool are only two points ahead of City who have a game in hand on the Anfield men and that coupled with the fact that Liverpool just don’t look the same team without the energetic Sadio Mane I’m going to predict that City will pip them and finish in 3rd position.