With week 33 fixtures getting underway today, it would be fair to say that the English Premier League is reaching its final laps of the season where there looks to be a lot of pushing and pulling right till the very end.
Last year saw a mind boggling finale with the blue half of Manchester rejoicing along with the red half of North London. Both the teams provided nail biting finishes to make their folk proud. The teams that lost out were, United, who were looking for their 20th title and Tottenham, who, well anyway wouldn’t have made that much of an impact even on playing in Europe.
This season the top few teams can take a breather with the possibility of an English team taking the coveted 4th place in the the UCL, ruled out. Still, that doesn’t seem reason enough to make any of them take their foot off the gas for a moment. While United are clearly heading towards a ‘Dream 20’, the race for the other three places is getting hotter with every game played.
Here are the contenders for the remaining three places that take the teams to the more prestigious European tournament while the others would have to settle for the less-preferred Europa League.
Though City are arguably favorites to drop a place from last season, they could drop a little lower than that if they get a little sloppy.Sitting seven points ahead of 2nd placed Chelsea, they still have seven games to play, some of which include top-of-the-table clashes with Chelsea and Spurs, while Swansea won’t let them go easy too. But you can’t really expect a team like them to falter, so you could put your money on them to keep their position.
The blues are going through, what you could call, mixed form. They lose to teams you don’t expect them to, and then beat teams like Manchester United. With the two North London teams lurking and a weird relationship amongst the fans and the manager, you could expect them to slip up. Also, having qualified for the semifinals of the Europa League and the FA cup, fixture congestion could harm their end to the season.
This is a team it would be hard to say anything about. Not because they lack quality or classy players, it’s because they turn into a completely different team at the end of the season. Last year, at this time around, they were going neck to neck with Arsenal, and gave up a 9-point lead to attain 4th place, which proved pointless in terms of qualification to the UCL. Jack Wilshere’s famous bet that Arsenal would overtake them, which he ultimately won, clearly proves the faith players have when it comes to Tottenham’s ending to a season. Maybe Wigan could give them some tips on how to play at the dead.
The Gunners are in prime form right now and have now managed to overtake their neighbors, for the first time all season. Again coming up from down the table, they managed to beat Norwich at the Emirates yesterday and it’s two seasons in a row now that they’ve upset the white half of North London. Staying in Top 3, at this stage of the season, would be right up there on Wenger’s wishlist to avoid the Champions League playoffs. They’ve been absolutely magnificent all season with their new signings as well as underperformers producing remarkable performances and I’m sure the teams above would keep an eye on them the next year this time around, as they’ll look to challenge for the title.
What really would happen, no one can say. You could do all the permutations and combinations you like, but still you would see a totally different trio to emerge on the right side of the line. Stay glued to your sets, it’s going to be a finale you wouldn’t want to miss.