Premier League Top Four Battle: The 2021-22 Premier League season is nearing its conclusion, and the ‘run-in’ is expected to be exciting across the league.
When it comes to the top four competition, there are a lot of teams vying for fourth place in the Premier League.
With Manchester City and Liverpool vying for the title, and Chelsea in a comfortable third place, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, and West Ham are battling it out for a place in the top four, while Wolves’ hopes are dwindling. It’s a big one.
We’ll update this post every week until the end of the season, focusing on the standings, fixtures, and analysis of the top four hopes for the teams in contention.
Top four battle in the Premier League heats up – as it stands
3rd: Chelsea – 62 points (30 games) GD +41
4th: Tottenham – 57 points (31 games) GD +19
5th: Arsenal – 54 points (30 games) GD +9
6th: West Ham – 51 points (32 games) GD +9
7th: Manchester United – 51 points (31 games) GD +7
8th: Wolves – 49 points (32 games) GD +5
The team of Thomas Tuchel is a foregone conclusion to finish in the top four. It will take place. They suffered a wobble in November/December that cost them the championship, but they have now settled down and will finish third easily.
Remaining games: Leeds (A), West Ham (H), Everton (A), Wolves (H), Man United (A), Watford (H). Date TBA: Arsenal (H), Leicester (H)
Rating their chances: 98 percent
Antonio Conte has expressed his displeasure (many times) with the quality of Tottenham’s team, but they have a strong chance of finishing in the top four, and even he admits as much following a superb comeback win over West Ham.
They just need to overcome Arsenal — North London derbies are usually easy — and they have a trip to Liverpool later in the season. Apart from that, they have a very winnable stretch of games ahead of them.
Spurs have a chance if Harry Kane and Heung-min Son keep their hot streak going and the club improves defensively. It’ll almost certainly come down to their match versus Arsenal. That’s going to be delicious.
Remaining games: Brighton (H), Brentford (A), Leicester (H), Liverpool (A), Burnley (H), Norwich City (A). Date TBA: Arsenal (H)
Rating their chances: 50 percent
Mikel Arteta’s side has now lost back-to-back games, and their match-in-hand against Tottenham has suddenly become as vital as the North London derby itself. Chelsea and Manchester United are still on the schedule.
They’ve improved their defensive play, and Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, and Smith Rowe have begun to score goals. If they want to finish in the top four, they’ll have to keep sharing the goals around, but they have a decent opportunity.
Remaining games: Southampton (A), Manchester United (H), West Ham (A), Leeds (H), Newcastle United (A), Everton (H). Date TBA: Tottenham (A), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H)
Rating their chances: 40 percent
The team of Ralf Rangnick is lacking in innovation, confidence, and consistency. They have a difficult run-in as well; the Red Devils beat Tottenham but still have to face Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
Late in the season, United’s defensive unit is all over the place, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be dissatisfied with Rangnick (despite scoring a hat trick in a major win over Spurs), and the interim head coach appears unlikely to return next season. It’s all a jumbled mess.
Having said that, Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba, and Ronaldo are all capable of scoring goals and creating big moments to help their teams win games. To finish in the top four, they will most likely need to win at least six of their final nine games. That doesn’t seem likely.
It’s now or never for United, with only one direct challenger in Arsenal (and that’s a long way away). With Norwich, Brentford, and Brighton sandwiched around a huge trip to Arsenal, there’s a lot of work to be done here, but there’s also an opportunity for a real run of points.
Remaining games: Liverpool (A), Norwich (H), Arsenal (A), Brentford (H), Brighton (A), Chelsea (H), Crystal Palace (A)
Rating their chances: 15 percent
West Ham United
The Hammers are clinging on just about, but it appears that their Europa League successes are catching up with them. They definitely did against Tottenham, but the Irons will also have the chance to have a direct impact on Arsenal and Spurs’ top-four ambitions.
West Ham has a chance to close the gap on the teams around them with games against Chelsea and Arsenal still to play. They need to win the remaining five games, which they should be able to do, and then their fate will be determined by how they perform against Tottenham and Arsenal in particular.
A top-six finish for David Moyes’ side would be fantastic, but they are the only team in this contest that has nothing to lose. They have a chance if Declan Rice stays on track and Michail Antonio returns to form.
Still, winning the Europa League would be the greatest route to the Champions League for them.
Remaining games: Burnley (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Norwich (A), Man City (H), Brighton (A)
Rating their chances: 7 percent
After the setback at Newcastle, we were on the verge of removing Wolves from the page entirely. Bruno Lage’s club has run out of gas in the attack, losing two of their last three games (to Leeds and Newcastle, to boot). They have a difficult stretch ahead of them, and they will be pleased with their season if they finish in the top seven.
Remaining games: Manchester City (H), Burnley (A), Brighton (H), Chelsea (A), Norwich City (H), Liverpool (A)
Rating their chances: 5 percent