The top four slots in the Premier League look more or less secure after Arsenal’s win over Liverpool on Saturday. At the time of writing, Liverpool are seven points off fourth placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand, a victory in which would see them return to second place in the Premier League. We can now say with some confidence that the top four in the Premier League would be Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United. But, how will these four figure in those top four places? It looks too close to call, but we tried to do some analysis to see how these teams will finish and which games are key in the league before the season ends.
We look at all the next games of these sides in the top four and try to predict the order of the top four at the end. Get the knives out, people.
GW 31: Crystal Palace vs Manchester City (Draw)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (70 points), Arsenal (63), City (62), United (62)
GW 32: Burnley vs Arsenal (Arsenal wins)
QPR vs Chelsea (Chelsea wins)
Man United vs Man City (Man United wins)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (73), Arsenal (66), United (65), City (62)
GW 33: Chelsea vs Man United (Draw)
Man City vs West Ham (Man City wins)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (74 points), Arsenal (66), United (66), City (65)
GW 34: Man City vs Aston Villa (Man City wins)
Everton vs Man United (Draw)
Arsenal vs Chelsea (Draw)
Leicester vs Chelsea (Chelsea wins)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (78), Man City (68), Arsenal (67), United (67)
GW 35: Man United vs West Brom (Man United wins)
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Chelsea wins)
Spurs vs Man City (Man City loses)
Hull vs Arsenal (Arsenal wins)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (81), Arsenal (70), United (70), City (68)
Chelsea are crowned Champions
GW 36: Crystal Palace vs Man United (Man United wins)
Man City vs QPR (Man City wins)
Chelsea vs Liverpool (Chelsea wins)
Arsenal vs Swansea (Arsenal wins)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (84), Arsenal (73), United (73), City (71)
GW 37: Swansea vs Manchester City (Draw)
Man United vs Arsenal (Man United wins)
West Brom vs Chelsea (Draw)
Arsenal vs Sunderland (Arsenal wins)
Top Four Order: Chelsea (85), Arsenal (76), United (76), City (72)
GW 38: Arsenal vs West Brom (Arsenal wins)
Chelsea vs Sunderland (Chelsea wins)
Hull vs Man United (Man United wins)
Man City vs Southampton (Draw)
Final League Table:
1) Chelsea – 88 points
2) Arsenal – 79 points
Man United – 79 points
4) Man City – 73 points
Manchester City are definitely going to lose out in the next few weeks. They are struggling at a time when results are the be all and end all. Sergio Aguero has found the worst time to misfire and City, being over-reliant on the Argentine, will suffer.
Chelsea are without doubt going to be the runaway winners of the Premier League by 9 points. They have too much quality in the squad and with Eden Hazard in cracking form, they are likely to blow the opposition away. The strength in depth for Chelsea shows – even without the injured Diego Costa, they can rely on Loic Remy who has scored five goals despite playing the bit part role in the team. Chelsea’s season is one example of knowing what to spend money on. The sheikhs at City would do well to take a few tips before splurging on the likes of Eliaquim Mangala.
Arsenal and Manchester United will duke it out for second and third place in the Premier League. They both will finish in spots that qualify them automatically for next season’s Champions League group stages, so it should not be of too much consequence, but put simply, the team with the better goal difference will finish higher than the other.
Five Key Matches:
1) Manchester United vs Manchester City (GW 32): The first of a handful of games between the top four that remain, the Manchester derby will be a pivotal point. The loser of this game would end up eventually missing out on the automatic Champions League group stage qualification spots. We feel given their current form, United would edge out City at home. United’s defeat to City in the reverse fixture was Van Gaal’s only defeat this season against a top five team this season, and he would like to maintain his good record against top opposition when City come to town. United’s good form has coincided with a lull in City’s performances, and it is the red side of Manchester laughing in the end. We do not foresee City doing the double over United this season.
2) Arsenal vs Chelsea (GW 34): On course to winning the Premier League, Mourinho would love to spoil Arsene Wenger’s party and given his past experience at setting his sides up well against top opposition, we do not see Chelsea losing this. Arsenal will dominate the game, but Chelsea will hit on the counter. A drawn result would prevent Arsenal from putting distance between themselves and the team below.
3) Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City (GW 35): This is the game where City will lose out and fall behind in the race for automatic qualification. Spurs would be looking to finish in the automatic qualification spot for the Europa League and would need no extra motivation at home. At home, Spurs have shown they can mix it with the best, and City will be their latest scalp at White Hart Lane. City will slip from second in the table to fourth, the same week that Chelsea are crowned champions.
4) Swansea vs Manchester City (GW 37): This would be City’s last chance to break into the top three, which they will squander. Swansea at home will go for the jugular and while City will be good enough for the draw, the win needed will not come for Manuel Pellegrini, who might get the sack come end of the season.
5) Manchester United vs Arsenal (GW 37): The game that decides the second and third positions. If Arsenal win, they will be certain to finish second, but we feel United will edge it slightly. They have the better winning mentality and toughness needed for these games and will also be without any cup distractions that might be playing on the Arsenal players’ minds, given the inconsequentiality of the game in terms of automatic qualification for next season, given City’s draw at Swansea, two and a half hours earlier.