Premier League top-four race: Who has the best remaining fixtures?

Premier League top-four race: Who has the best remaining fixtures?

While there isn't much of a championship race in the Premier League this season, the race to finish in the top four and qualify for next year's Champions League has a wide field of contenders once again.

Manchester United, Leicester City, and Chelsea are currently behind Manchester City in the Premier League.

West Ham are still in contention, though Tottenham Hotspur are still in with a chance, and a resurgent Liverpool are on the rise.

Futaa has broken down the run-ins for each of those involved, testing the average home and away points-per-game and average predicted goal differential of their remaining opponents.

Manchester United

Position: 2nd
Points: 60

Manchester United will need a complete disaster to miss out on the Champions League next season.

Despite the fact that nothing is assured and they sometimes seem to be far from convincing, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team has been gradually improving and now has an 11-point lead over fifth position.

The victory over Brighton on Sunday extended their unbeaten Premier League streak to ten games, although victories over Manchester City and West Ham effectively cemented their position in the top four. Their remaining fixtures are a mixed bag after a difficult run.

Tottenham, Leeds, Villa, and Wolves are all on the schedule, while Liverpool and Leicester visit Old Trafford, and Fulham could still be battling for their lives this weekend.

Solskjaer, on the other hand, can be assured of making the top four and can set his sights on second place.

Leicester City

Position: 3rd
Points: 56

Leicester are still in control of their own destiny, five points ahead of fifth place.

The defeat to the champions-elect at the King Power Stadium on Saturday was a disappointment, but it was not unexpected and far from fatal. The crucial trip to West Ham this weekend is much more significant.

Following that, Brendan Rodgers' side will be assured of picking up the points they need in their next four games, which include home games against West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle United, as well as a trip to Southampton in the middle.

If Leicester can win those, they should be able to navigate a tough end to the season with ease.

West Ham

Position: 4th
Points: 52

Make no mistake: West Ham is a contender.

They have remained undefeated as other surprise candidates have faded away. On Monday night, David Moyes' side climbed into the top four with a thrilling 3-2 victory away at Wolves, which is a massive compliment to him and his team.

Is it possible for them to succeed? Both Leicester and Chelsea will visit the London Stadium in the next fortnight, so their next two home games will be vital. If they defeat both, a Champions League berth would immediately seem to be more than a possibility.

Everton will also visit east London, but the majority of West Ham's schedule is made up of bottom-half and mid-table rivals with little to compete for, and Moyes' side has been reasonably consistent against these types of teams this season.

Declan Rice's absence is a blow, and Michail Antonio's fitness is a worry, but they are legitimate contenders who have nothing to fear from their upcoming matches


Position: 5th
Points: 51

It's never a good idea to lose the "easiest" game you have left by five goals to two when you're in a close race to qualify for the Champions League.

But that's exactly what happened to Chelsea last weekend, and it's completely changed the race.

While Thiago Silva's red card cannot be overlooked in the context of their heavy home loss to West Bromwich Albion, the result will still concern Thomas Tuchel after an otherwise steady and solid start to life as a manager.

Chelsea have a chance to come back against a Crystal Palace side that has little to play for, but their schedule is arguably the toughest of all the contenders. Trips to West Ham, City, and Villa appear to be trouble too.

Then there's Leicester City's trip to Stamford Bridge the next weekend. Tuchel will expect to have clinched a top-four spot by then, but Chelsea cannot afford to replicate Saturday's bizarre outcome.

Tottenham Hotspur

Position: 6th
Points: 49

Despite all of the negativity and confusion surrounding the club, and despite losing two points late on at St James' Park on Sunday, Tottenham can still be considered a contender.

Jose Mourinho's side must make the most of their remaining fixtures in order to avoid missing out on the Champions League for the second consecutive season. It isn't necessarily easy, but it isn't the most difficult either.

United are the next team to visit North London, but Southampton, Wolves, and Sheffield United will also be there. On paper, a trip to Leeds seems overwhelming, but it might provide the perfect environment for Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, and Gareth Bale to flourish.

Given Everton's poor home record, even heading to Goodison Park isn't too daunting, but Spurs' inconsistency is the biggest hurdle. Will they still be in with a chance when Leicester comes to town on the last day?


Position: 7th
Points: 49

The major winners of the weekend, along with West Ham.

Though Leicester, Chelsea, and Tottenham all lost points, Liverpool thrashed Arsenal at the Emirates and have begun to resemble their former self.

Last season's champions have the best chance of making a late charge, and despite so much going wrong at Anfield this season, their end-of-season schedule is by far the easiest of all the contenders.

Newcastle, Southampton, and Crystal Palace will all visit Anfield in the final six games, while Jurgen Klopp's side will head to West Bromwich Albion, Burnley, and Old Trafford.

They would have expected at least 16 points from those games last season.

The biggest problem for Liverpool was the amount of ground they needed to make up, but Chelsea's shock loss means fourth place is once again within reach. A string of victories is expected, and it appears that this is possible.