The race for the UEFA Champions League in the Premier League season will go right to the wire as Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea are still in the running for the final two places. While whichever side manages to secure third spot will be guaranteed Champions League football next year, if the Blues or Spurs finish fouth, they could miss out on Europe’s elite competition.
Not only do Liverpool have to finish outside of the top four, they also have to win the Champions League in order to spoil either of Chelsea or Tottenham’s top-four parties. Arsenal, who look as though they will finish Arsene Wenger’s final season in sixth, must also get past their bleak semi-final situation and go onto win the Europa League in Lyon.
Liverpool look surprisingly likely to win the Champions League after their 5-2 demolition of Roma in the first leg and with their fixture against Chelsea on the horizon, a fifth-place finish for the Reds certainly isn’t impossible. However, it would have to be some performance for Arsenal to knock out Atletico in the Europa League semi-final after their 1-1 draw at the Emirates. If the Gunners can pull that off, a potential final against Marseille or Red Bull Salzburg is definitely winnable.
Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Watford on Monday night has gone a long way to securing a top-four place and they are favourites to follow Manchester City and United in the table. This closes the door on one of Antonio Conte’s possibilities and now they must focus on leapfrogging Jurgen Klopp’s side who are firmly centred around their European exploits.
It would be a major anti-climax if Chelsea were to miraculously squeeze into the top four only for the Champions League place to be taken from their grasp. Although, even a grandstand finish wouldn’t excuse what can only be described as a poor campaign for last season’s top-flight champions.