Time Running Out On Chelsea's Top Four Challenge As They Look For A Return To Form Against West Ham
Chelsea’s defeat last week leaves them eight points behind 4th place in the table. Although a top-four challenge is still in the cards the side face an uphill battle to avoid missing out in Champions League football next season. They face West Ham this weekend whose win last weekend eased their relegation worries. Thanks to their 3-0 win over Southampton they now sit five points above the bottom three. Chelsea have won only two of the last five against West Ham but have not lost at home since 2002.
Manchester City could seal the title with a win at home against their nearest challengers Manchester United on Saturday evening. Having won their last 14 home games in the league they go into this game as favourites to do that but a disappointing result in mid-week May play on their mind. Manchester United have taken four points from the last two derby games at the Etihad Stadium and go into the game 2nd on the back of four straight league wins.
A win on Saturday afternoon’s Merseyside derby will move Liverpool into 2nd place in the league, although it could just be for a few hours. Liverpool have dropped just four points in their last eight games but the two sides drew 1-1 earlier in the season. Everton were on a poor run at the time but have since recovered to 9th, three points inside the top half. They have picked up just three points against sides from the top six this season.
Tottenham have beaten Stoke by four goals in each of the last four meetings, a stat which does not look promising for the relegation-threatened side’s chances this weekend. Having lost their last three games Stoke City are in danger of leaving themselves too much to do with only six games remaining. Defeat in this game would leave them at least three points away from safety and with a far worse goal difference than those above. Tottenham are in great form at the moment having won their last five and could close in on 2nd with a win.
Arsenal look to make it three straight home wins as they aim to pile more misery on Southampton on Sunday. Back-to-back 3-0 wins have done little to improve their league standing but going into the final stages of the season in good form will help momentum for a Europa League challenge. They remain 6th but now only five points behind Chelsea above, although still probably too far away from the top four at this late stage. Southampton have never beaten Arsenal away from home but if they are to stand a chance of Premier League survival they need to start picking up points quickly. They are two points behind Crystal Palace but with a game in hand, so their season is not over. A lack of goals is hurting them at this point though and they have scored just one in their last five league games.
Burnley head into the weekend in 7th place on the back of three straight wins. They travel to Watford aiming to win their third consecutive away game. Watford, on the other hand, have lost only once in seven home games. A win could take them into the top half of the table and within six points of Burnley.
Newcastle’s last three home wins have helped to see them move towards safety and they are now seven points above the bottom three. They now travel to Leicester who have won their last two games which were away but drawn their last three at home. Leicester could move into 7th with if they repeat the result from earlier in the season when they ran out 3-2 winners in Newcastle.
Brighton hold a three-point advantage over their fellow promoted side going into their game with Huddersfield this weekend. Two wins in their last three home games have put them in 13th but with a difficult run of fixtures ahead this game could turn out to be vital come the end of the season. Huddersfield won the fixture in December but just one point from their last four games has seen them fall down the table. They are now 16th, three points ahead of the relegation places and in need of a turn in form to boost their survival bid.
Four defeats against sides from the top five in the table have hurt Crystal Palace’s chances of remaining in the Premier League for another season. They now face a run of fixtures which on paper is more favourable, starting with a trip to Bournemouth. Although in a comfortable position in the league, 10th place Bournemouth have won just once in the last five, against bottom side West Brom.
Swansea can take a big step towards survival if they beat West Brom this weekend. A points return from three of their last five games has left Swansea in 15th place, three points above relegation. A win against bottom of the table Wes Brom could move the Swans a few places further up the table. Defeat for West Brom would almost confirm their relegation. Eight straight defeats have left them ten points away from safety and with only six games remaining a miraculous charge doesn’t seem likely.
A top-four place is not too far away but with Chelsea looking stripped of a lot of confidence at the moment they may fall short due to the sides above them being in form. The side need to keep focus until the end of the season, however, as an FA Cup win would still give a sense of pride from an otherwise disappointing season.