Friday, 1 March, 2024

Top Four Battle In Premier League


The 2021-22 Premier League season has reached the business end of the campaign and the ‘run-in’ is going to be wild up and down the league.
Focusing on the top four battle, there are so many teams scrapping for fourth place.
With Manchester City and Liverpool battling for the title, plus Chelsea sitting semi-comfortably in third, the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Wolves, and West Ham are battling it out to finish in the top four, while Wolves have an outside chance.
Below we focus on the standings, fixtures and analyze the top four hopes for the teams in the hunt, and we will update this article each week between now and the end of the season.

Thomas Tuchel’s men are nailed on to finish in the top four. It’s going to happen. They had a wobble in November/December which cost them in the title race, but they have settled down and will easily finish third. Chelsea's remaining games: Brentford (H), Southampton (A), Leeds (A), West Ham (H), Everton (A), Wolves (H), Man United (A), Watford (H). Date TBA: Arsenal (H), Leicester (H)
Rating their chances: 98 percent

Mikel Arteta’s side have got momentum, and games in-hand, but they have tough games against Spurs, Chelsea, and Man United remaining. They are solid defensively and Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe have started to chip in with goals. They will have to keep sharing the goals around if they’re going to finish in the top four, but they have a very good chance. Remaining games: Crystal Palace (A), Brighton (H), Southampton (A), Manchester United (H), West Ham (A), Leeds (H), Newcastle United (A), Everton (H). Date TBA: Tottenham (A), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H)
Rating their chances: 50 percent

Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte has voiced his concern (many, many times) over the quality of the squad Spurs have, but they have a very good chance of finishing in the top four and even he’s acknowledging it after a solid bounce back win over West Ham. They simply have to beat Arsenal — those North London derbies are often straightforward — and they have a trip to Liverpool late in the season. Aside from that they have a very winnable run of games. If Harry Kane and Heung-min Son stay on their hot streak and the team can improve defensively, Spurs have a chance. It will likely come down to their meeting against Arsenal. That is going to be tasty.
Remaining games: Newcastle (H), Aston Villa (A), Brighton (H), Brentford (A), Leicester (H), Liverpool (A), Burnley (H), Norwich City (A). Date TBA: Arsenal (H)
Rating their chances: 30 percent

Manchester United
Ralf Rangnick’s side are struggling for creativity, confidence, and consistency. They have a pretty tough run-in too; The Red Devils beat Tottenham but still have Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all to come. The problems are mounting late in the season: United’s defensive unit is all over the place, Cristiano Ronaldo looks far from happy under Rangnick (but scored a hat trick in a big win against Spurs) and the interim head coach looks very unlikely to be in charge next season. It’s all a bit of a mess.
Saying all of that, Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba, and Ronaldo could all deliver the goals and big moments they need to win games. They probably need to win at least six of their final nine games to finish in the top four. That seems unlikely. It is now or never for United.
Remaining games: Liverpool (A), Leicester (H), Everton (A), Norwich (H), Arsenal (A), Brentford (H), Brighton (A), Chelsea (H), Crystal Palace (A)
Rating their chances: 20 percent

West Ham
The Hammers are hanging in there, just about, but it feels like their continued Europa League triumphs are going to catch up with them. They certainly did against Tottenham.
With games against Chelsea and Arsenal still to come, West Ham has a chance to make up ground on the teams around them. They need to win the other five games, which they could, and then their fate will be decided on how they get on against Tottenham and Arsenal in particular. David Moyes’ side will be delighted with a top-six finish but they are the one team in this battle who have nothing to lose and actually. If Declan Rice stays on top form and Michail Antonio gets back to his best, they have a chance.
Still the Champions League route best for them would be winning the Europa League.
Remaining games: Tottenham (A), Everton (H), Brentford (A), Burnley (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Norwich (A), Man City (H), Brighton (A)
Rating their chances: 7 percent

Okay, so they still have a slim chance, but their form over the last week has pretty much ended their unlikely top four push. Bruno Lage’s side has run out of steam in attack and has lost three-straight games to Arsenal, West Ham, and Crystal Palace. They have a tough run-in and if they finish in the top seven they will be delighted with their season. Remaining games: Leeds (H), Aston Villa (H), Newcastle (A), Manchester City (H), Burnley (A), Brighton (H), Chelsea (A), Norwich City (H), Liverpool (A)
Rating their chances: 5 percent