Chelsea’s loss against West Ham last night just blew the race for the top four in the premier wide open.
Manchester City would be facing champions Liverpool, later tonight, where City would be giving the guard of honor. Should City win, there would be an 11 point gap between them and Leicester in third place, 12 points from Chelsea and 14 points from Manchester United and Wolves. So that should more than guarantee them a place in the champions league, that’s if City aren’t banned from the Champions League next season, due to their failure to abide by FFP (Financial Fair Play) rules.
Third place have suffered a serious dip in form since the resumption of football, recording just no wins in their last four matches in all competitions. They are currently just a point above Chelsea, and if Chelsea had won last night, they would have leapfrogged Leicester and Leicester would drop to fourth. The team look like a shadow of their old selves and the team that got everyone excited when Brendan Rodgers took over. Jamie Vardy has also lost his scoring boots, failing to score since his brace against Aston Villa back in March.
Leicester also have the toughest fixtures of the top 5 teams, with Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Sheffield, Tottenham and their final match against Manchester United on the last day of the league, which might be the decider between the two teams on who goes for the champions league.
With the failure to grab a point against West Ham, Chelsea are now under serious pressure, with Manchester United and Wolves hot on their heels, and just 2 points separating the pack. Winning against City was supposed to be a drive to ensure they expand the gap between them and the rest of the teams, but they failed to build on the momentum, with terrible defending and lack of communication costing them the three points last night.
Chelsea have very tough fixtures ahead, with Liverpool, Wolves and a Manchester team that has beaten them thrice this season already, on their list. Lampard would be looking to grab as many points as possible from their next three games which include a trip to Sheffield and Crystal Palace, and a game at home against relegation threatened side, Norwich City.
Manchester United and Wolves are both on equal points, with goal difference being the only thing separating the two sides. United have the easiest fixtures with Leicester the only team in the top half of the table, they would be facing. While Wolves have quite a mixed feeling of fixtures, with Chelsea and Arsenal still on their list, it might be a tough ending for them, but they have the capability to finish strong.
My prediction for the top four is Liverpool in first obviously, City in second, Manchester United in third and Chelsea in fourth. Leicester would finish fifth, but might end up going for the champions league, should Man City get banned, while Wolves could finish sixth.
Wolves and Manchester United still have another opportunity of going to the Champions League, which is by winning the Europa league. If any of them wins it, then the team in fourth position would drop to Europa League.
By Muyiwa Aguda