The race for Champions League football: How things stand after dramatic weekend

Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday has thrown the race for the Top 4 wide open. Even though it is still in The Reds’ hands, they need to be really careful to make sure that the season doesn’t end on an almighty low. If they slip in their one remaining game in the league, and also lose the Champions League final to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp’s men will find themselves missing out on Europe’s most elite club competition next year. For the dramatic run they’ve been on lately, that will be one bitter ending.

 

For Chelsea, it still a very outside chance. They Blues need to win each of their last two games, against Huddersfield at home and Newcastle away. Antonio Conte’s men have brought themselves back in contention by winning four matches in a row, after a torrid start to 2018. They should have enough to win their two remaining matches, both against sides who are already more or less safe. But even if they win 6 points from 6, they will need other results to go their way.

Tottenham lost 1-0 at the weekend to West Bromwich Albion in dramatic fashion, and can’t afford any more slip-ups. They play both their remaining two games at home, against teams who are very poor runs of form. Newcastle visit Wembley Stadium in midweek on the back of three successive defeats, before Leicester City come to town on the final day of the season. The Foxes have lost four of their last five and are on the verge of sacking manager Claude Puel. Spurs need to lose or draw both of these games to drop out of the top 4. As they have a vastly better goal difference that Chelsea, The Blues can only overhaul them on points.

Liverpool have completely brought this situation upon themselves. They have won just one of their last five Premier League games, and Sunday’s loss at Stamford Bridge puts all the pressure on their final game of the season. In all fairness, it is one they should win. Brighton & Hove Albion come to Anfield next Sunday, having guaranteed Premier League football next season with a dramatic victory over Manchester United last Friday. Chris Hughton’s men won’t exactly be filled with encouragement and motivation to go the extra mile, and Liverpool should have more than enough quality to get over the line.

This is a race that didn’t look like being exciting at all a couple of weeks ago, but the Premier League has once again lived up to its tag of unpredictability. If things go as planned, Spurs and Liverpool will occupy places 3 and 4, respectively. Chelsea’s late surge though, means that they will be ready to pounce on any possible slip-ups and qualify for next season’s Champions League.