The race for a top 4 finish and qualification for the Champions League is hotting up and assuming Manchester City are winning the Premier League its any three from four teams. The match between the home team in Liverpool and Tottenham will have a significant bearing on the three teams that will be playing in the Champions League next season due to their finishing position in the table.
Tottenham had dropped off the pace and would have been 11 points adrift of Manchester United in second place if losing to that team. Cristian Erikkson scored the third fastest goal in Premier League history and Tottenham benefitted from an away goal to secure a two-nil win. They are now in fifth place just five points behind United but only two points behind Chelsea in fourth place. Tottenham could reach as high as third position if they win at Anfield and other results go their way.
Liverpool and their fans were rocking after defeats to the two bottom teams in the league. These reverses followed the scintillating win against Manchester City. Jurgen Klopp will never win a major trophy with Liverpool because some of his players still can’t defend. High intensity football is fine but things can get desperate when a team needs to score three goals to win a game. Tottenham have not lost in five league matches and they can extend that record by avoiding defeat at Liverpool.
Arsenal have lost two of their last three league matches and are now in sixth place and drifting. Arsene Wenger always got the team into the Champions League but that did not happen this season. The manager now faces the ignominy of Europa League football but even that could be beyond Arsenal this time. Failing to qualify for Europe for the first time in 22 years would mean the end for Wenger. Beating Everton at home is now critical for the manager’s future and it could all be over soon.
Everton appointed Sam Allardyce to keep the club in the division and their Premier League status looks assured. The much needed win at home against Leicester broke a run of three defeats and two draws. Leicester are now a solid mid-table outfit who will never win the Premier League again but the FA Cup is a feasible target this season. Everton can keep the momentum going with a draw at Arsenal in a low-scoring game.
Crystal Palace entertain a Newcastle side that are a place and two points below them in the table. The 10 teams in the bottom half of the table are separated by just seven points so a couple of defeats can put a team in the mire. Teams facing relegation issues probably assumed Swansea were down but two wins in three matches against top six clubs has changed everything. Teams are bunching in the lower reaches of the Premier League and Palace and Newcastle may see a draw as fine.
Watford are now in the bottom half after no wins in five matches. They could get dragged into the relegation debate and avoiding defeat at home to Chelsea on Monday may be beyond them. They could actually drop five places if results fall in a certain way. However, they are the highest scorers in the bottom half but only Stoke have conceded more. Those facts suggest a high scoring match against Chelsea while Manchester City will beat Burnley on the road.