The last international break for the season is thankfully over. We enter the “Endgame” of European football. The tension rises all across Europe, in the leagues, Champions League, and Europa League; every game counts, every goal counts. Who’s going to win the Premier League, who’s going to reach the top 4 and play Champions League football next season, who’s going to settle with Europa league next season, and who’s going to go down to the Championship?
Premier League title:
Manchester City is far ahead of everyone else in the Premier League. Hardly anybody thinks they won’t be Premier League champions come 23rd of May. The question for them is: Will they be able to win another domestic treble, and the big question will they fulfill sheik Mansour’s dream of Champions League glory. At first sight, Borussia Dortmund is a team that they can easily defeat, but can they go further than the final four which is their best European accomplishment.
Here’s the biggest drama in the Premier League: seven teams fighting for three spots. That gives the chance for Champions League football next season:
Currently, stand 2nd with 56 points after 29 played games. The Red Devils look to finally get their mojo back. They look like a big team again. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks like a Manager of the season nominee. He brought Man United where there belong, fighting for the top spots in English football. The team looks inspired, plays good football and the atmosphere between the players looks good. The manager was able to rotate his players in the busiest part of the season in December and January and keep all his players fresh and in form.
Manchester United doesn’t look like they’ll miss the top-four spots. And now their main objective should be keeping that spot and fighting for the Europa League trophy. They should easily win around 20 points until the end of the season and with 70+ points a top 4 spot will be secured.
Currently 3rd with 53 points from 29 games. After missing on Champions league football in the last possible moment last season, Leicester looks like he made another step forward. The foxes now seem like they settled in the “Big 6” of English football and plan to stay. Leicester is the most tactically variable team in the league. And it’s all thanks to Brendan Rogers. The Northern Ireland-born manager isn’t receiving enough credit for his work at Leicester. He inherited a team that was fighting for his spot in the top division with few names from the Champions team in 2016. And developed it into a top-four contender and he did all this without spending big.
They changed their plan and style of play according to the opposition, which for me makes Brendan Rogers “Manager of the season” favorite. Only their fall last season, and that they are not considered a part of the “Big 6” make people question their quality. Make no mistake, lighting never falls twice on the same spot. The Foxes are not missing on this one. They probably have the toughest schedule from all top 4 contenders, but they now have the experience and the quality to keep that top-four spot.
51 points from 29 games. Since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment on the 27th of January, Chelsea looks unstoppable. They have six wins from ten Premier League games and conceded only 2 league goals. On top of that, they beat Atletico Madrid twice to secure their spot at ¼ finals of the Champions League. Sacking Lampard 1st looked like a mistake, is now proven success. The Blues look unshakable in their top four spots.
They have a relatively easy schedule (If there is such a thing in the Premier League) until the last few games. If Chelsea keeps their momentum going no one can move them from this spot. Their aim should be at least going through Porto in the Champions League, and why not win the Ol’Big Ears…
49 points from 29 games; they are the dark horse in this race. The team that no one expected to be fighting for European spots, yet for top 4… They are playing their best football right now, without any pressure for qualifying for the Champions League. And if the miracle happens and The Hummers reach the top-four, their fans will make probably the biggest party London has ever seen.
West Ham already proved that they can defeat every team in the division. On top of that, no one expects anything from them which is their biggest advantage in this race. Just imagine the scenes next season: Mark Noble plays Champions League football in his last season as a footballer. Players like Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane play in the Europa league…
48 points in 29 games. In mid-December, the Spurs were sitting on top of the league, played good football, and looked like title contenders. In mid-February, they were sitting in the middle of the table going nowhere. Now their dreams of Champions League football are alive again, but they’ll have to produce something special for that. Well, they have the right man in charge for Special things. Is the “Special One” still special? Will he work his magic?
46 points from 29 games. The champions have a terrible season. There are a lot of different reasons why is that. I already wrote about that:
They are the most unpredictable team this season. They are still the champions and they will fight till the end for that top-four spots. But probably their best chance to qualify for the Champions League is by winning it. We’ve seen that before. Liverpool sitting behind the top-four in the league, The final being played in Istanbul… we can dream, right?
If Liverpool wins against Real Madrid in the quarters, their confidence will get back, and why not win the Champions League. This Liverpool team showed last season that it can be an unbeatable machine, and they showed this season that they can show the relegation team’s form. Which Liverpool side will we see?
46 points from 28 games. Carlo Ancelotti transformed Everton this season. But their impermanence is stopping them from achieving much more this season. Will they be able to stabilize their form till the end and shock everyone by playing Champions League football for the 1st time in their history?
Sheffield United and West Bromwich look definitely relegated for months now. I don’t think even their players and fans dream of staying up in the Premier League for another season. They are probably thinking about the Championship and trying to come back to the Premier League as fast as possible; so, the battle for staying up is between these five teams:
26 points from 30 games. Cottagers play really nice football at times; Scot Parker is doing a great job with the way he wants his team to play. But, the lack of efficiency and big misses in crucial times can cost them the position in the Premier League. When you’re fighting for your elite status, this means that there are no easy games for you.
However, Fulham still holds their destiny in their own hands. It won’t be a surprise if the last relegated team will be decided in their last game of the season, which is against Newcastle at “Craven Cottage”.
28 points from 29 games. Newcastle looks stuck in a vicious circle. New manager, new players, but the same old owner. Geordies deserve better; they are a team that should be fighting for Europa League spots at least. Or that’s what they think.
32 points from 29 games; the same story as Fulham. They try to play nice football but lack efficiency at times. Both teams share the same amount of draws: 11, which is the most in the division. If they can transform some of the draws into wins, they’ll be safe for another season.
33 points from 29 games. Their defense is keeping them above the line. They don’t score a lot of goals: 22, which is better only from the goal tally of the bottom two clubs. But they are a very hard team to break.
33 points from 29 games. The Saints were top of the league at a certain point, but they have only one win since they beat Liverpool on the 4th of January. That’s one win in 12 games. And, they lost 9-0 from Manchester United during that run; relegation team form.
We’re already ¾ into the season; it’s the toughest time of the season. Who’ll go through, who’ll fail, who will cry, and who will be celebrating at the end? Every game is like a mini-final now. Let’s enjoy them!