It all comes down to three games for a handful of clubs to either secure European football or to remain in the league for next season. We know for certain that Liverpool and Manchester City have clinched Champions League spots and Norwich has been relegated. The remaining spots are all up for grabs in what will be a fascinating end to another Premier League campaign.
The clubs fighting for the remaining two champions league spots are Chelsea (third, 60 points), Leicester City (fourth, 59), Manchester United (fifth, 59), Wolves (sixth, 55), Sheffield United (seventh, 54), and Tottenham (eighth, 52). The next best will have to settle for Europa League.
The relegation battle is between Aston Villa (19th, 30 points) and Bournemouth (18th, 31). Just above the drop zone are Watford (17th, 34), West Ham (16th, 34), and Brighton (15th, 36).
Trying to predict how many points clubs will secure during the run-in is a bit tricky as most clubs at this point aren’t playing for anything. That can be an advantage for those fighting for something even when playing against superior teams. Football is tricky, though, and doesn’t always go as planned.
Who has the advantage and will secure a massive pay day for their clubs?
Villa has a run-in of Everton, Arsenal, and West Ham. Against Everton is a spot where Villa can cause a surprise and secure one point. Arsenal at this point is too superior and should beat them. That would leave a potential massive conclusion against West Ham if Villa is still fighting, but West Ham themselves are fighting and should prevail since they have the better players. That would net Villa just one point from their remaining three games, sending them down to the championship with Norwich.
A run-in of Manchester City, Southampton, and Everton doesn’t do Bournemouth any favors. The Citizens look poised to continue dominating as they tune up trophy runs in the FA Cup and Champions League. Southampton isn’t a pushover and at best the Cherries can draw that game. A finale against Everton will give them hope for a win and a total of four points during the run-in for a total of 35.
Watford’s run-in is no better with West Ham, Manchester City, and Arsenal. It’s hard to see them getting any points from any of those fixtures.
That would have Bournemouth surpassing Watford and sending the Hornets down with Norwich and Villa.
Fifth-place Manchester United have the easiest of the run-ins with Crystal Palace, West Ham, and Leicester. Palace has played lackluster and look like a team just itching to get to summer break. West Ham will be a fight, but Manchester United is far better and fighting for something much bigger. Playing Leicester in the final week will give them an opportunity to control their own destiny if need be. The Reds should certainly be able to capitalize and take down the Foxes. Securing those nine points will come with a Champions League berth and third place in the table.
Current holders of third place, Chelsea have a tricky run-in. They’ll start things off by easily beating Norwich, but then have a matchup against Liverpool. To get past them, they will likely need Liverpool to be preparing for summer break rather than the fixture. Chelsea’s motivation should at least see them claim a point. Claiming a point in their last fixture is also doable against the Wolves. Nothing ever comes easy against the Wolves, but it is a fixture they must get points from. Securing those five points will raise their total to 65 and be enough to hold off Leicester.
The Foxes won’t be able to catch Chelsea or United as their run-in features games against Sheffield, Tottenham, and Manchester United. At best, they draw two of those games, only netting two points.
Given the remaining clubs run-ins, competition for Europa League will only come from the Wolves and they will fall one point shy of Leicester after claiming five points in fixtures against Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Chelsea.
With three games to go, it will be fascinating to see if any clubs’ desire can will them to any unexpected result. With huge dollar signs flashing in front of club executives, they will be doing everything possible to put the players in the best possible situation to secure these coveted positions.