RACE FOR THE TOP FOUR ENTERS FINAL LAP
With this season’s Premier League title race being one that only has a single entrant (even if Manchester United fans will still be dreaming of the unthinkable) and the battle to avoid relegation now concluded, the focus shifts solely to who will be playing in Europe next season.
Removing Manchester City out of the equation, there are seven teams competing for six berths across three competitions and for each of that magnificent seven who are aiming to take part in continental action, one of them will have to make do with staying at home.
For Manchester United, they are already guaranteed a place in the Champions League after the summer and with two league outings in three days, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may now take the opportunity to rest and rotate his squad.
Because although the Red Devils have the slightest of opportunities when it comes to still winning this season’s edition of the Premier League, the focus will now shift to this month’s Europa League final in Gdansk.
While with more than one eye on Europe’s secondary club competition, it may turn out to be good news for both Leicester and Liverpool and if they can take advantage of United’s relaxed demeanour this week, it will give both their top four hopes a shot in the arm.
However, out of these two outfits, it does look as if only one of them will be able to edge themselves into the top four at the end of the campaign and Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers will be hoping that another collapse is on the cards.
Because recently the Foxes had a seven-point buffer over West Ham in fifth and with them lying third themselves, there was an air of confidence circulating around the King Power Stadium. However, failure to win their last two league outings, has seen that confidence erode slightly.
Only slightly though, as results did largely manage to go their way at the weekend and with that gap to West Ham now five points - as Leicester find themselves being overtaken by Chelsea and subsequently fourth in the table, they are going to need each of those points to get over the line.
While when it comes to getting over the line, there is a feeling that West Ham have now run out of steam and failure to get the better of Everton on Sunday, means that their dream of playing in the Champions League is quickly starting to dissipate.
A dream that any Tottenham supporter will know has turned into a nightmare as of late and even with Leicester leaving the door ajar after their stunning loss to Newcastle last Friday, Ryan Mason’s men failed to kick it down the following day.
Their defeat to Leeds at Elland Road, now has them looking nervously over their shoulder and with Everton possessing a game in hand and going to Aston Villa in midweek, a win in the West Midlands would see them enter the European places at the expense of Spurs.