The race for the top four spots in the Premier League has gone into the last day of the season. Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City are fighting for two Champions League and it has gone down to the wire.
All the three teams look vulnerable and all of them dropped points ahead of the last day of the Premier League season and it all comes down to their final game of the campaign.
Leicester City will host Manchester United in a sort of straight shoot out for a top-four place and Chelsea will host Wolves at Stamford Bridge knowing that they at least need one point to guarantee qualification to the premier continental club competition next season.
Too much is at stake for all three clubs as being in the Champions League brings prestige and more importantly, extra income in a pandemic-ravaged football landscape.
So, let’s assess each of the three Premier League outfit’s chances of being in Europe’s elite club competition next season.
Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s side looked tired and off the pace in their 1-1 draw against West Ham at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
With squad depth being an issue, Solskjaer has done little rotation of his players since the restart and some of their bigger performers look like that they are running on fumes.
But the point at Old Trafford means Manchester United are going into the final day of the season third in the Premier League table, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
As club captain Harry Maguire said on Wednesday, they would have taken needing a point on the final day of the season to reach the Champions League when Manchester United looked far away from a top-four spot during the winter.
If Manchester United avoid defeat at Leicester on Sunday, they will play in next season’s Champions League regardless of other results.
It is up to Solskjaer and his coaching staff to make sure that they are on the money and look a bit fresher when they take the pitch at the King Power Stadium.
Manchester United will more than fancy their chances as they have not lost a league game since January and will be taking on a Leicester side, who have massively dropped off in the second half of the season.
Prediction: Manchester United will finish in the top four.
Frank Lampard’s side are going into the last day of the season on the back of a 5-3 defeat against Premier League champions Liverpool at Anfield.
But more importantly, they are still fourth in the Premier League table. Chelsea also do not have to depend on other results if they can earn a point at home against Wolves.
But the game is likely to be trickier than expected. Chelsea’s defence has looked flaky and has conceded 15 goals since the restart, the worst defensive record among the top six clubs in the Premier League.
While Wolves might be out of the top four race, their defensive record is far superior to Chelsea, conceding just four goals since the restart. Lampard will be worried about his defence and he has reasons to worry.
Wolves are a slick counter-attacking side and are very good at sitting on leads. If Chelsea concede first, then Sunday afternoon could become an ordeal for the Blues.
A point will be enough but a defeat could easily send them to fifth if Leicester and Manchester United play out a draw at the King Power Stadium.
The Chelsea manager would be happy that it is still in their hands but it is far from certain going into the final day.
Prediction: Chelsea will finish in the top four.
Brendan Rodgers’ side looked a shoo-in to finish in the Champions League spots at the turn of the year and had a 14-point lead over Manchester United, who were fifth in the Premier League standings.
But Leicester have seen a massive downturn in form in the second half of the season and the tables have tuned going into the final day. Manchester United are now a point better off at third and Leicester are fifth.
In theory, it is still in Leicester’s hands and a win at home on the final day of the season will guarantee them Champions League football. But that is easier said than done at the moment.
Manchester United have not lost a Premier League game since January and have not suffered defeat at the King Power Stadium since 2014. Their task is more straightforward as a point will be enough.
A draw for Leicester would mean that they would have to depend on Wolves beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season.
Rodgers will look to squeeze out one last great performance from his side in a season that promised so much at the turn of the year but for the moment they are not the favourites.
Prediction: Leicester will not finish in the top four.
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