The Premier League title race has been over for a while now as Pep Guardiola’s swash-buckling Manchester City side has swept aside all before them and ensured the 2017/18 campaign will be remembered as a procession, rather than a race, for the top spot. With neighbours Manchester United also assured of a second placed finish, the final two positions in the coveted Premier League Top 4 race are somehow still up for grabs as Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all have a chance of playing Champions League football next season.
Similarly, at the foot of the table, this season’s relegation battle has also been an extremely closely fought battle with a number of teams dropping in and out of the dreaded bottom three places. With less than a week remaining in the 2017/18 Premier League season, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion have already been confined to Championship football for 2018/19. While the respective arrivals of Paul Lambert and Darren Moore did provide a slight upturn in the fortunes of both these clubs, their overall results have just not been good enough to stay up and survive this term. Southampton, Swansea and Huddersfield are still in the Premier League Relegation battle and will do everything possible to keep their top-flight status intact.
Race for Premier League Top 4 places
As stated earlier, both Manchester clubs – City and United – are assured a place in the next season’s Champions League campaign as they will finish 1st and 2nd in the Premier League Top 4 battle. Arsenal, a club known for somehow always ending up in the Top 4 at the end of a season, are all set to miss out for a second year running.
Until about a month ago, Liverpool were also on course to seal a Top 4 finish but the Reds’ domestic campaign has stuttered in recent weeks owing to their Champions League exploits where they have made it to the big final for the first time since 2007. Jurgen’s Klopp free scoring side has failed to score in their last two Premier League outings against Stoke and Chelsea and talisman Mohamed Salah is also supposedly going through a mini goal drought as he hasn’t found the back of the net in his last three appearances for the club.
Liverpool’s dip in form has given a glimmer of hope to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea who have now recorded 5 straight wins in the league, a run which has left the Reds fans a tad nervous going into the final game of the season. Unless Chelsea drop points against Huddersfield or Newcastle, Liverpool now have a must win game coming up against Chris Hughton’s Brighton at home on Sunday (May 13). The Merseysiders will be expected to win it as they don’t have a midweek fixture and will be well rested for the game. Chelsea need to win their final two matches and hope that Liverpool drop points against Brighton if they are to finish in the Premier League Top 4. They can also afford to draw one of these two games if the Reds lose to Brighton at Anfield.
Tottenham are the third team involved in this race to finish on the right side of the Premier League Top 4 battle. Spurs, despite a surprise defeat at West Brom in their last outing, will be confident of sealing the deal as they have two home games remaining against Newcastle and Leicester. Mauricio Pochettino’s side though will have to be wary of suffering further setbacks as they have won just once in their last 5 Premier League outings.
Premier League Top 4 contenders and their remaining matches
Liverpool – Brighton (Home) on May 13
Chelsea – Huddersfield (Home) on May 10, Newcastle (Away) on May 13
Tottenham – Newcastle (Home) on May 10, Leicester (Home) on May 13
Premier League Top 4 Prediction – Liverpool and Tottenham to finish 3rd and 4th with Chelsea missing out
Premier League Relegation battle decoded
With Stoke City already relegated, Swansea’s defeat narrow 0-1 defeat against Southampton at home deepened their own relegation fears while also condemning West Bromwich Albion to Championship football next season. In what was literally billed as a six-pointer in the closely fought Premier League relegation battle, Southampton held their nerve and their win at the Liberty Stadium moves them into 16th place in the Premier League table – ahead of Huddersfield Town on goal difference – and they know they will be safe if they avoid defeat against Manchester City on the final day of the season this Sunday.
It is looking increasingly bleak for the 18th-placed Swans, who need to beat the already relegated Stoke side at the weekend and hope that Huddersfield fail to pick up any points against Chelsea and Arsenal in their remaining two games or that Saints lose heavily to Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions so as to scrape through on goal difference.
Despite a goal difference of -29 and with games coming up against Chelsea and Arsenal, David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town will be confident of sneaking in a point by putting in a shift similar to that against Manchester City at the weekend where they came out with a highly credible 0-0 draw. The Terriers will also know that Swansea will give their all on the final day to stay up and are likely to win at home against a demoralized Stoke side. Going into the final matchday of the 2017/18 season, the Premier League Relegation battle will certainly be a feisty fight.
Teams in the Premier League Relegation battle and their remaining matches
Huddersfield – Chelsea (Away) on May 10, Arsenal (Home) on May 13
Southampton – Manchester City (Home) on May 13
Swansea – Stoke (Home) on May 13
Premier League Relegation Battle Prediction – Swansea to get relegated with Huddersfield scraping through