Premier League Race For Top-4 Finish Set To Go To The Wire

12:53pm Apr 26 2021

The Premier League title race might be all but done and dusted, with the runner-up position looking destined for the other Manchester club.

The other Champions League spots are still very much up for grabs though.

According to the latest betting odds there are now five teams battling it out for the remaining two places in next season’s Champions League – Leicester City, Chelsea, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.

This is the league table for the aforementioned teams as it stood at close of play on Friday 23 April:

P Pts GD
Leicester City 32 59 +21
Chelsea 32 55 +19
West Ham United 32 55 +11
Tottenham 33 53 +18
Liverpool 32 53 +16

Leicester City

  • Monday 26 April: Crystal Palace (H)
  • Friday 30 April: Southampton (A)
  • Friday 07 May: Newcastle United (H)
  • Tuesday 11 May: Manchester United (A)
  • Saturday 15 May: Chelsea (A)
  • Sunday 23 May: Tottenham Hotspur (H)

Betting Odds

The Foxes are currently in pole position for a top four finish. With a comfortable four-point cushion over the chasing pack they are the -300 (1.3 or 1/3) favourite with US bookmaker Bovada.

Their last three games feature trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, followed by a home match against Tottenham. In between there’s also the distraction of an FA Cup final with Chelsea.

The other concern is that Leicester missed out on the top four from a seemingly unassailable position last season, though the recent return of James Maddison from injury could prove a decisive factor.

Chelsea

  • Saturday 24 April: West Ham United (A)
  • Saturday 01 May: Fulham (H)
  • Saturday 08 May: Manchester City (A)
  • Wednesday 12 May: Arsenal (H)
  • Saturday 15 May: Leicester City (H)
  • Sunday 23 May: Aston Villa (A)

The Blues are still fighting on three fronts, with their continued involvement in the Champions League and FA Cup.

That represents a congested fixture list (expect a bit of squad rotation from Thomas Tuchel), while their remaining league games represent arguably the toughest run-in of all five clubs.

On the plus side, a home drubbing by West Bromwich Albion aside, they’ve been watertight defensively under Tuchel.

West Ham United

  • Saturday 24 April: Chelsea (H)
  • Monday 03 May: Burnley (A)
  • Sunday 09 May: Everton (H)
  • Tuesday 11 May: Brighton & Hove Albion (A)
  • Saturday 15 May: West Bromwich Albion (A)
  • Sunday 23 May: Southampton (H)

After a potentially decisive clash at home to Chelsea, the run-in for the Hammers looks relatively benign. Jesse Lingard has been an inspired loan recruit from Manchester United, with nine goals in 10 starts.

They have conceded 10 goals in their last four matches though. Could they be running out of steam?

Tottenham Hotspur

  • Sunday 02 May: Sheffield United (H)
  • Saturday 08 May: Leeds United (A)
  • Wednesday 12 May: Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)
  • Saturday 15 May: Aston Villa (H)
  • Sunday 23 May: Leicester City (A)

Tottenham recently opted to dispense with the services of Jose Mourinho and promoted 29-year-old Ryan Mason as interim head coach for the remainder of the campaign.

Tottenham’s remaining fixtures look relatively friendly and the hope is that Harry Kane, the leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season, will remain fit for the final few matches to fire Spurs to the top four.

The big issue is that they have a little ground to make up and have played a game more than all their rivals.

Liverpool 

  • Saturday 24 April: Newcastle United (H)
  • Sunday 02 May: Manchester United (A)
  • Saturday 08 May: Southampton (H)
  • Tuesday 11 May: West Bromwich Albion (A)
  • Saturday 15 May: Burnley (A)
  • Sunday 23 May: Crystal Palace (H)

Other than a trip to Old Trafford, Liverpool doesn’t have the most taxing run-in on paper. However, the Reds have unexpectedly dropped plenty of points to supposedly inferior opposition over the course of the season.

Now would be the ideal time for Diogo Jota to embark on another goal spree.

Conclusion

With a few extra points in the bag, Leicester City should get over the line on this occasion, while Liverpool will be fancied to win five of their remaining fixtures which may well be sufficient.

Chelsea will have to juggle their resources over the coming weeks given the number of games and there look to be plenty of awkward games ahead.

West Ham are in uncharted territory, which could count against them as the pressure grows, while Tottenham realistically probably need to win all their remaining games if they are to qualify for the Champions League.