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English Premier League’s Top 4 Race – Analysed

Leicester City players celebrate after a goal
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With Manchester City 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 9 games to go, the Premier League title race is now a foregone conclusion. Nevertheless, there is still some excitement left in the third act of this extraordinary Premier League season as the Champions League places are still up for grabs. Manchester City will take one of those spots obviously and Manchester United are most likely clear as well as they are currently in 2nd position and are 8 points ahead of 5th place West Ham. However other than those two, 6 teams are separated by 10 points that could take up the last two spots.

Today we will be assessing each of the remaining contenders for these spots and analyse who is most likely to win the race for Top Four.

Leicester City

Current Position: 3rd | Points: 56 | Big Games Left: MCI (H), MUN (A), CHE (A), TOT (H)


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Leicester City were firm favourites to reach the Top Four last season but they had an incredibly poor run during project restart and eventually dropped out on the last day of the season to Manchester United. Brendan Rodgers has continued his sides’ development this year and despite some injuries to key players, Leicester should be safe this time around. They do have the toughest schedule for run in and play four of the Big Six but they have enough quality in the side and points in the bank to be the favourites to make it through. Although I believe if one of the current top four were to drop out, it would be the Foxes.


Current Position: 4th | Points: 51 | Big Games Left: MCI (A), ARS (H), LEI (H)


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Chelsea’s Champions League Prospects for next season looked grim while Frank Lampard was at the helm but Tomas Tuchel has revived their hopes since his arrival (Link Tuchel Transformation piece). Chelsea are unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions and have finally started playing according to their squad’s potential. Tuchel is slowly getting the best out of his German star signings Werner and Havertz and the change in system has also benefitted the likes of Mount and Callum Hudson Odoi. Chelsea has also kept eight clean sheets and conceded only 2 goals in the League since Tuchel arrived and have been the best team in the league after Manchester City in that time.

West Ham United

Current Position: 5th | Points: 49 | Big Games Left: LEI (H), CHE (H), EVE (H)


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One of the surprises of the season has been the turnaround David Moyes has managed at West Ham and they currently find themselves in 5th place, only two points outside of the top four. West Ham reached a different level in the 2nd half of the season and have the 2nd best record in the league since Christmas after Manchester City. Moyes has assembled an incredible squad of players built on defensive solidity and hard-working and efficient strikers. The central-midfield partnership of Soucek and Rice is probably one of the best in the league and the performances of Antonio, Lingard, Bowen and Benhrama have been fantastic.

West Ham does have some tricky home fixtures to come but it would be of little surprise to see them hold their current league position by Matchday 38.


Current Position: 6th | Points: 48 | Big Games Left: MUN (H), LEI (A)


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Tottenham have been in a state of crisis after the soul-crushing defeat to Dinamo Zagreb which saw them bow out of the Europa League in a humiliating fashion. Mourinho is under real pressure to deliver top four and the last 9 games in the league could decide his long-term managerial fate (Link Special Once Piece). Curiously, Spurs have won 4 of their last 5 PL games and only have Manchester United and Leicester as traditional difficult games before the end of the season.

The problem for Tottenham is that they have been over-reliant on Harry Kane and Son in attack and if their two talismans aren’t fit or firing, the team suffers.


Current Position: 7th | Points: 46 | Big Games Left: ARS (A), MUN (A)


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Liverpool have capitulated in recent months through injury and loss of form and have the 16th best record in the league since Christmas. Jurgen Klopp’s men have uncharacteristically struggled at home, losing their last seven in a row at the fortress that is Anfield. (Link Anfield fortress piece). Liverpool are five points off Chelsea and 10 points off Leicester City and with trips to the Emirates and Old Trafford yet to come – two places where they have terrible records – the Reds are in real danger of dropping out of the Champions League for next season.


Current Position: 8th | Points: 46 | Big Games Left: TOT (H), ARS (A), MCI (A)


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And finally, the team with an outside chance of sneaking into the top four is Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. Everton have had an impressive season under the Italian but have gone off the boil lately, losing four of their last seven PL games. Just like Liverpool, Everton are ravaged by injuries this season and are currently missing the creativity of James Rodriguez in the middle of the park. They also have an incredibly tough run-in till the end of the season and six of their remaining 10 games are against top-half opposition. 

Looking at the contenders, Leicester City and Chelsea are the favourites for the top four at this stage. However, there are still plenty of twists and turns left to come and cup competitions, injuries and the relegation race can make things change very quickly and throw a spanner in the works.


[Image Credit: Leicester City Football Club]