The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League. Finishing top four could be called a “Wenger” as Arsenal have qualified each season under Arsene Wenger, but have done little else over the past decade. It doesn’t matter as much financially as it once did – every EPL club is crazy rich from the new TV deal – but it still matters a bit.
The top two teams, Chelsea and Tottenham, are all but locked in. Though, a horrific collapse would be quite “Spursy.” It looks like the final two places will be decided among Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Arsenal. That may come down to the final day and be the most exciting race.
Here’s a breakdown of what each team has left.
Liverpool: 66 Points
Remaining Matches: at Watford, Southampton, at West Ham, Middlesbrough
The Reds have the most points on the board. There’s something to be said for that. But, having the fewest matches left, four, gives Liverpool a 78-point ceiling. No match is a given – Liverpool just lost at home to Crystal Palace – and a tricky stretch remains. The next three matches are against Top 10 teams, two of them on the road. Middlesbrough could be fighting to stave off relegation on the final day.
Manchester City: 64 Points
Remaining Matches: Manchester United, at Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, West Brom, at Watford
City have six matches left, most notably a six-pointer at home with Manchester United. Normally, four of the six games at home would be a good thing. But, under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have struggled at the Etihad, with just eight wins from their 15 home matches. Whatever happens, this was not the start City expected bringing in Guardiola, who had won six titles and two Champions League trophies in seven seasons at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Manchester United: 63 Points
Remaining Matches: at Manchester City, at Arsenal, Swansea City, at Tottenham, at Southampton, Crystal Palace
Distractions: Europa League
Manchester United need a “special run” from Joe Mourinho to close the season. The Red Devils travel to Manchester City, to Arsenal, and to Tottenham before the season’s end. They face a two-leg semifinal with Celta Vigo in the Europa League which clogs up the fixture list. Beginning Thursday, United will play eight matches in 24 days. They must do so without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Arsenal: 57 Points
Remaining Matches: Leicester City, at Tottenham, Manchester United, at Southampton, at Stoke, Sunderland, Everton
Distractions: FA Cup Final
Arsenal sit in 7th place currently, though they trail Everton by one point and have three matches in hand. If the Gunners are to make another fantastic finish, they likely need six points from Tottenham and Manchester United. That will be a tough ask. Arsenal has just six points from 10 matches so far against the top six. The lone win came against Chelsea in September.
The FA Cup Final against Chelsea won’t be a distraction, coming six days after the season ends. But, Arsene Wenger’s undetermined future may be one.