Which Premier League top-four contender has the toughest run-in?
We look at each team’s fixtures ahead of top-flight’s return
With Premier League football back on our TV screens from Wednesday 17th June, it’s time to get excited about what lies ahead.
While the title race is all but over, there are plenty of teams still battling for a place in the top four and a spot in next season’s Champions League.
We’ll run-down the remaining fixtures for each top-four contender, from third-placed Leicester, down to Arsenal down in ninth.
Realistically neither Liverpool or Man City are likely to surrender their spot at this point, with Man City 12 points clear of their neighbours Man United in fifth.
Leicester City – 3rd with 53 points
Watford (A), Brighton (H), Everton (A), Crystal Palace (H), Arsenal (A), Bournemouth (A), Sheffield Utd (H), Tottenham (A), Man Utd (H)
Leicester’s form had been faltering before the league’s hiatus, with back to back 1-0 losses against Man City and bottom-side Norwich City. Their eight-point advantage over Man Utd means they should retain a spot in the top four, but they still have several other chasing sides to play.
Leicester will want to put a few wins under their belt quickly to allow some breathing space when it comes to the tougher ties.
Chelsea – 4th with 48 points
Aston Villa (A), Man City (H), West Ham (A), Watford (H), Crystal Palace (A), Sheffield Utd (H), Norwich (H), Liverpool (A), Wolves (H).
Despite that tough-looking tie against Man City, Chelsea don’t have too difficult a run-in. Three consecutive games in London after City will suit them to a tee, while their penultimate game against Liverpool should see the Reds already crowned as champions and without a packed Anfield crowd to impress.
Manchester United – 5th with 45 points
Tottenham (A), Sheffield Utd (H), Brighton (A), Bournemouth (H), Aston Villa (A), Southampton (H), Crystal Palace (A), West Ham (H), Leicester (A), Norwich (A).
Maybe the easiest run-in of all the teams on paper, Man United can’t take things for granted here, given that they’re still to play five of the league bottom seven sides.
While Norwich may already be relegated by the time they face each other in their final fixture, both Aston Villa and Bournemouth will be battling for points and Brighton and West Ham will be desperate to avoid slipping into the relegation spots.
If someone above them slips up and Man Utd fail to capitalise, they’ll only have themselves to blame.
Wolves – 6th with 43 points
West Ham (A), Bournemouth (H), Aston Villa (A), Arsenal (H), Sheffield Utd (H), Everton (H), Burnley (A), Crystal Palace (H), Chelsea (A).
If Wolves want to be in with a sniff of the top four, they need to start strongly, faced as they are with three of the current bottom four in their first three fixtures.
Things get tougher from there, but if they can pick up a few points on fourth-placed Chelsea, they could go into the final day of the season with their fate in their own hands.
Sheffield United – 7th with 43 points
Tottenham (H), Burnley (A), Wolves (H), Chelsea (H), Leicester (A), Everton (H), Southampton (A), Aston Villa (A), Arsenal (H).
One of the tougher sets of fixtures, Sheffield United will face five teams on this list, including both of the teams currently inside the top four.
It could be argued they’d be better off aiming for a more realistic Europa League spot, but Sheffield Utd have been confounding people’s expectations all season, why should they stop now?
Tottenham – 8th with 41 points
Man Utd (H), West Ham (H), Sheffield Utd (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (H), Newcastle (A), Leicester City (H), Crystal Palace (A).
A mixed bag here, with some tough games yet to play and with seven points them and fourth-placed Chelsea, they’ll need to get off to a flier to be in with a shout, partiuclarly in that opener against Man Utd.
In their favour, key injured players like Harry Kane and Son Heung-min should be fit to play after the extended enforced absense.
Arsenal – 9th with 40 points
Man City (A), Brighton, A), Southampton (A), Norwich (H), Wolves (A), Leicester (H), Tottenham (A), Liverpool (H), Aston Villa (A), Watford (H).
A tough opener and back-to-back games against Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool could easily scupper their season. The rest of their ties look eminently winnable, but the gap to fourth perhaps looks too big with this set of fixtures.
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