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EPL: How final fixtures may affect top-four race

EPL By: Ayodeji Tunde | 27/04/2018

FC Naija

The Manchester teams, City and United have a firm grip on the first and second positions on the Premier League table but what will happen to the final two Champions League spots being fought for by the trio of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs and Chelsea is anything but predictable.

For Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, the task is quite simple: no team has ever finished lower than fourth after reaching 76 points.

Three of those teams are currently on course to surpass that target, one is not.

However, fortunes in the final weeks of the season are often dictated by the fixture list and those who benefitted from easier runs earlier in the season can suffer as the schedule evens itself out.

Who has the most favourable top-four run-in?

1. Liverpool

Current position: 3rd

Points: 71

Remaining fixtures

28/04 Stoke (H)

05/05 Chelsea (A)

13/05 Brighton (H)

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The run-in makes pleasant reading for Jürgen Klopp’s side. Two wins from their three remaining games will effectively put them in the mix for qualification for next season’s Champions League and their fixture lists suggest they will be able to find the victories they need.

Liverpool will entertain Stoke and Brighton at Anfield and all things being equal, the Reds should nick those games.

 

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2. Chelsea

Current position: 5th

Points: 63

Remaining fixtures

28/04 Swansea (A)

05/05 Liverpool (H)

09/05 Huddersfield (H)

 13/05 Newcastle (A)

They are currently bringing up the rear in the top-four race and sit 13 points behind the magic 76 mark-which they can no longer attain as the full 12 points from the last four games will take them to 75.

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As it stands Chelsea qualifying for the Champions League will be a miracle as they must travel to play an improved Swansea and a difficult Newcastle side before the season is out

3. Tottenham Hotspur

Current position: 4th

Points: 68

Remaining fixtures

30/04 Watford (H)

05/05 West Bromwich (A)

09/05 Newcastle (H)

13/05 Leicester (H)

While it may not appear to be the most intimidating schedule imaginable, the numbers suggest that Tottenham have the trickiest run-in of all the top-four contenders.

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In fact, of all the home fixtures, only the visit of Watford feels like a bankable Tottenham win.

Verdict

Manchester United should have little problem picking up the points they need to finish just behind their neighbours, Manchester City.

Liverpool’s favourable fixture list suggests that they too will have enough to reach first the 76-point mark and most likely finishing in third place...

Despite the tricky Tottenham’s final set of schedules, their victory at Stamford Bridge has done them a lot of good and it is unthinkable that they would allow the Blues claw back the five points that currently separates them.

While Chelsea are condemned to win their remaining games this season, it is unfortunate that it is not enough to see them pull through as they would have to pray their London rival Spurs falter in at least two games.
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