Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester United: A Battle for Champion’s League Placement

By | April 22, 2019

As the Premier League comes to close next month, to say the 2018-2019 season was thrilling would be an understatement. Since January, fans have been watching the Manchester City v. Liverpool saga closely for which club will be crowned Premier League Champions. While many watch the two flip-flop between 1st and 2nd place, a fierce four-way battle between Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs), Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United is ensuing as they fight to finish in the top 4 and claim a coveted spot in next year’s Champion’s League. As of April 21st, Manchester City and Liverpool will decidedly finish in the first and second place positions, claiming two of the four Champion’s League spots available to Premier League clubs. However, the last two spots, given to 3rd and 4th place, are yet to be claimed. In this post, I will go over the remaining four fixtures of the four teams vying for the Champion’s League spots and give my predictions for where each will finish.

After playing 34 games, Spurs sit in the 3rd spot with 67 points, followed by Arsenal and Chelsea in the 4th and 5th spots, respectively, with 66 points only separated on goal difference and Manchester United in 6th with 64 points.

Spurs

Current Position: 3rd
Current Points Total: 67

While Spurs have had a difficult past two weeks after playing Manchester City three times and losing twice, their schedule to close off the season seems more than manageable. Unfortunately for Spurs, star striker Harry Kane is still out from an ankle injury sustained during the first clash with City in the Champions League, which could mean trouble for their goal scoring capabilities. Nonetheless, forwards Son Heung Min and Lucas Moura have stepped up in absence of Kane, scoring between them 5 of the team’s 7 goals since Kane’s injury. With any attacking qualms at bay, I believe Spurs should have no trouble winning the first three of their four remaining games. However, their final game against Everton will be there 5th game over a span of two weeks, so fatigue, in combination with Everton’s recent great run of form, may pose difficulties in closing out the season with a win. For this reason, I predict Spurs will wrap up the season with a draw.

Upcoming Fixtures (Predicted Outcomes):
Spurs vs. Brighton (Win)
Spurs vs. West Ham: (Win)
Spurs @ Bournemouth (Win)
Spurs @ Everton (Draw)

Final Points Total: 77

Arsenal

Current Position: 4th
Current Points Total: 66

Arsenal has had an up and down season under new boss Unai Emery. While strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been clinical in front of goal for the Gunners, Arsenal has struggled at points to keep their defensive composure, which will be vital if they wish to remain in the top 4. Today’s 3-2 loss at home to Crystal Palace, a match that was supposed to be a gimme, will be especially hard to swallow. A win today would have put Arsenal 2 points clear of Spurs and in good position to finish in the top 4, but now the Gunners face an uphill battle to maintain their position. The three away games in the closing weeks of the Premier League will pose another challenge for the Gunners. This season, Arsenal astoundingly have only won 6 of their 16 away games and recorded 6 of their 8 losses away from the Emirates Stadium. Nonetheless I believe today’s loss was just a blip in what has been a strong past few months for Arsenal. Emery will have to be careful in keeping his players fit as the Europa League Semifinals approach, but I expect the Gunners to close out this season with four wins.

Upcoming Fixtures (Predicted Outcomes):
Arsenal @ Wolverhampton Wanderers (Win)
Arsenal vs. Leicester City (Win)
Arsenal @ Brighton (Win)
Arsenal @ Burnley (Win)

Final Points Total: 78

Chelsea

Current Position: 5th
Current Points Total: 66

After a difficult start to the year, Chelsea have found themselves outside of the top 4 floating around the 5th and 6th spots for most of 2019. If Chelsea fail to qualify for next year’s Champion’s League, Blues’ fans will be disappointed with new coach Maurizio Sarri who many held to high regard after his success with Napoli in the Serie A. The Chelsea gaffer’s tactics, dubbed ‘Sarriball’, have found mixed success in the Premier League with Chelsea struggling to get wins against those at the top of the table. Looking forward, Chelsea should have no issue getting a win at Burnley tomorrow, but their weekend match at Old Trafford against Manchester United will be their main challenge in their final push for a top 4 finish. Chelsea have struggled this season against top 6 clubs away from home and have lost to Manchester United each time they have played. For this reason, I predict a hard-fought, close game between the two in favour of a United win. While I expect a convincing win over mid-table Watford at home, Chelsea’s final match against recently in-form Leicester at the King Power Stadium will be a tough match that I believe will end in a draw.

Upcoming Fixtures (Predicted Outcome):
Chelsea vs. Burnley (Win)
Chelsea @ Manchester United (Loss)
Chelsea vs. Watford (Win)
Chelsea @ Leicester City (Draw)

Final Points Total: 73

Manchester United

Current Position: 6th
Current Points Total: 64

Of the remaining teams battling for a Champion’s League spot, Manchester United will close out their campaign with the most difficult schedule by far. They face Manchester City midweek and Chelsea at the weekend followed by matches against lower-table Huddersfield and Cardiff City. Recently appointed boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking to finish United’s season strong following a difficult 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the second leg of the Champion’s League Quarter-Finals and an even more harrowing 4-0 loss to Everton earlier today. United performed fantastically following Solskjaer’s appointment at the end of 2018 but have recently seen a dip in form over the past month. The team’s record for the last five games is WLWWL, and each win was won only by a margin of one goal. I believe United’s incohesive defence will be exposed this Wednesday by City and Manchester will be blue for a second time this season. However, after 2 wins against Chelsea earlier on, I am confident in the Red Devils’ ability to record a victory against Chelsea at the weekend and the two relegation-zone teams in the following weeks.

Upcoming Fixtures (Predicted Outcome):
Manchester United vs. Manchester City (Loss)
Manchester United vs. Chelsea (Win)
Manchester United @ Huddersfield (Win)
Manchester United vs. Cardiff City (Win)

Final Points Total: 76

Final Standings Projection

For my final projections, the two North London teams will round off the Premier League top 4 to clinch England’s remaining Champion’s League places. However, regardless of where Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea finish, they each still have the opportunity to clinch a spot in the Champion’s League through continental club competitions. Both Arsenal and Chelsea are in the Europa League Semi-Finals facing Valencia and Eintracht Frankfurt, respectively, and Spurs are in the Champion’s League Semi-Finals facing Ajax. If any of these teams wins their European club competition, they immediately book their place in next year’s Champions League. With Liverpool in the other Champion’s League Semi-Final, we could see completely English Champion’s League and Europa League finals (it’s about time!).

 

Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know your thoughts below!

 

https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/what-is-sarriball-how-chelseas-tactics-have-changed-after/pqijnswg5x3x1lpvp5yulnab2
https://www.foxsports.com/soccer/standings?competition=1&season=2018&round=1
https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/harry-kane-injury-will-the-tottenham-star-miss-the-rest-of/hmettcn8ut0515k9khvnxoqcx

4 thoughts on “Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester United: A Battle for Champion’s League Placement

  1. Ian Roughen

    It is wild to think that despite this seemingly easy end of the season, Arsenal has struggled so much. They really ruined their chance to make the Champions league through league play for next season. They will likely have to put all their eggs in the Europa League basket now. Valencia will surely make that tough, though.

    Reply
  2. Cameron Anderson

    The rest of the teams can look to take advantage if Arsenal look past a match to focus on the Europa League matches. It is rather disappointing that none of these clubs look particularly interested in taking advantage of anyone else.

    Personally, I think Chelsea will find a way to hold on to the fourth spot ahead of their match with Man Utd while Arsenal makes the Europa League finals before eventually losing.

    Reply
  3. Kevin Winiarski

    As a United fan, it’s disappointing to think that our Champions League prospects are looking dire as we approach the end of the season. After Solskjaer had some early success, I was really convinced that we were for sure going to finish within the top 4 and maybe even have a shot at 3rd. I’m not quite sure what’s changed with since Solskjaer was named permanent manager, but it’s clear that this summer the roster needs an overhaul in some way. I really enjoyed reading your predictions–they were super thorough and well-reasoned.

    Reply
  4. Laurent Dubois

    Thanks for these careful predictions, Richard, which identify many of the different factors at play. It’s all very close, and today’s Manchester derby will be a defining moment, but I think you are probably right in your predictions!

    Reply

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