Arsenal still have the advantage in the race for a top four finish following last weekend’s Premier League action.
The Gunners weren’t actually in action before the international break, but benefited from one of their rivals for a Champions League spot failing to pick up all three points.
Chelsea could have overtaken Manchester United and moved level on points with the north London outfit in the table, but they were beaten 2-0 by Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon and therefore remain in sixth place.
A poor run of form for Spurs means they are only a point clear of the Gunners and the general consensus is that they’ve been sucked into a top four battle.
That means two top teams are going to miss out on Champions League football and it promises to be a fascinating climax to the season.
All three teams fighting for the top four are back in action after the international break so the order in the table could look very different come the next the first week in April given how unpredictable the league has been this term.
Ahead of the next round of fixtures, we have taken a look at how the Gunners’ run-in compares to their two rivals for a Champions League spot.
01/04 – Newcastle United (h)
07/04 – Everton (a)
15/04 – Watford (a)
21/04 – Crystal Palace (h)
24/04 – Wolves (a)
29/04 – Leicester City (a)
04/05 – Brighton & Hove Albion (h)
12/05 – Burnley (a)
Verdict: It does look like a very nice run-in for the Gunners and if they can sort out their away form which has dipped of late then they’ll probably be hot favourites to secure a top four finish which would represent a fine first season in charge for Emery.
However, there’s a few factors that should be taken into consideration.
One is the game against Wolves. Arsenal took a point in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and a repeat wouldn’t be the worst result in the world in terms of their chances of getting back into the Champions League.
There’s also the Europa League which will take its toll on the squad. They face Serie A outfit Napoli so their top four credentials will be tested.
Should they go deeper in the tournament then games will get moved to Sundays, meaning they are likely to be playing after the Red Devils and that could be the difference.
Manchester United fixtures
30/03 – Watford (h)
02/04 – Wolves (a)
13/04 – West Ham (h)
21/04 – Everton (a)
24/04 – Man City (h)
28/04 – Chelsea (h)
04/05 – Huddersfield Town (a)
12/05 – Cardiff City (h)
Verdict: Similar to the Gunners, Man United can’t have too many complaints with their run-in. Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City are probably the perfect final two games to have if destiny is in their own hands.
What would may have helped United given their injury issues was getting knocked out of the Champions League as that would have lessened the number of fixtures to play, but they overcame PSG and now have at least two more fixtures in Europe to play.
The clash at Emirates in a few weeks is a big one as is Everton away and then Man City as well as Chelsea at home in the space of a week. That could be a defining week in the top four race.
31/03 – Cardiff City (a)
03/04 – Brighton (h)
08/04 – West Ham (h)
14/04 – Liverpool (a)
22/04 – Burnley (h)
28/04 – Manchester United (a)
04/05 – Watford (h)
12/05 – Leicester City (a)
Verdict: The fact that the Blues still have to play Liverpool and Man United is a big deal, but it’s not necessarily those games that will determine whether or not they get top four or not.
They’ve struggled away from home in 2019 so games against relegation threatened teams won’t be a guaranteed win and Sarri will hope Gonzalo Higuain can score the goals to put the so-called ‘lesser teams’ away at home.
Just like Arsenal, the Europa League will take its toll the deeper they go in the competition.
Tottenham Hotspur fixtures
31/03 – Liverpool (a)
03/04 – Crystal Palace (h)
07/04 – Brighton & Hove Albion (h)
13/04 – Huddersfield Town (h)
20/04 – Manchester City (a)
27/04 – West Ham (h)
04/05 – Bournemouth (a)
12/05 – Everton (h)
Verdict: Having lost to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton as well as drawing against Arsenal, Mauricio Pochettino’s side need to bounce back and quickly.
Liverpool are then on the agenda in March, with a tough trip to Man City coming up a month later. It’s a tough run and Spurs have very little margin for error, but should have enough to keep hold of a top three spot.