Last weekend, it was pretty much a certainty that in some order, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City would finish in the top four. All of a sudden, Manchester City has lost three straight EPL games and didn’t play last weekend. This has caused a lot of teams to get within reach of Manchester City’s all elusive fourth position and a spot in the UEFA Champions League.
And these teams are believing that they can do it. Once thinking they were out, it’s a different ballgame now. We’re taking a look at those fifth on down and determining who has a chance at getting in fourth place.
Favorites to get in the top four
5th – Manchester United – tied with Manchester City at 47 points while City has a game in hand
Throughout a season of injuries, inconsistency, terrible play and manager issues, Manchester United is back in the hunt and they believe they can get in the top four, even after all of that. United’s schedule might be a bit rough with Man City, Spurs, Leicester and West Ham all on the schedule, but in a way, playing those positional rivals can mean Manchester United is controlling their own destiny. That and, with the emergence of Marcus Rashford, this plentiful scoring couldn’t have come at a better time.
6th – West Ham United – one point behind Manchester City with 46 points while City has a game in hand
Behind Leicester and Tottenham, West Ham have the third fewest losses (6) of any team in the EPL. This team has shockingly put themselves in a position to have a strong and young attacking team, ready to make a run. This is a team who has gotten at least a result on all the top teams (except for Leicester) and just beat Spurs. So this is a strong team who is unafraid of anyone. A three game stretch consisting of Arsenal, Leicester and Man United in April may prove to be difficult but other than that, West Ham has an easier schedule than most.
Still has a realistic chance to get in the top four
7th – Stoke City – five points behind Manchester City with 42 points while City has a game in hand
Despite having a -3 goal differential, Stoke has been able to squeak out results when it mattered. While at one point struggling to score, Stoke seems to have their scoring boots on and are back on track. In terms of scheduling, Stoke has a rather difficult schedule with having to play Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City in a three week span as well as West Ham to close out the season. But Stoke has surprised people before, they could do it again.
8th – Liverpool – six points behind Manchester City with 41 points
Liverpool gets to have an advantage of playing with a game in hand on their competition other than Manchester City (although that game in hand is the Merseyside Derby). Even so, Liverpool has a shot and while it seems like they have improved things, it won’t be easy. They face their foe Crystal Palace this weekend but just need to face Tottenham during the EPL, the rest is a smattering from Stoke and Southampton to Swansea and Bournemouth. Liverpool has most of the midtable teams left and will have a consistent difficulty to seek to defeat and move up the standings.
Darkhorses to get in the top four
9th – Southampton – seven points behind
10th – Chelsea – eight points behind
11th – Everton – nine points behind
12th – Watford – ten points behind
13th – West Bromwich Albion – 11 points behind Manchester City
All five of these teams are close to moving up and are close to Liverpool in the standings. But simply having to rely on many other teams to have to lose for them to get into the top four, could prove to be too difficult to overcome.
With the opening of the fourth place spot in the English Premier League, this season has gotten even more exciting. Unlike last year where everything was just about decided, we may possibly see multiple teams with a shot at Champions League going into the final week of the season.