The race for the title isnt the only issue likely to go down to the wire in the Premier League this season.
Below Manchester City and Liverpool, there are four big teams chasing the final two qualification spots for next seasons Champions League. They are separated by only three points with a little over a month to go.
Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United know the importance of getting into Europes biggest competition, for reasons of finance and prestige above all else. But they all face complications, not least since each of them is still involved in either the Champions League or the Europa League.
A look at the race for the top four:
After a winless run of five games, third-place Tottenham arrested its slide in the Premier League with a win over Crystal Palace in the first game at its newly built 1 billion pound ($1.3 billion) stadium. Players spoke of the fantastic atmosphere in the stadium, compared to what they felt while playing at the temporary home of Wembley Stadium over the past 20 months, so the move “home” could energize Tottenham for the run-in.
Four of the teams remaining six games are at home, and they are favorable ones against already-relegated Huddersfield, relegation-threatened Brighton and two teams who are safe in West Ham and Everton.
There is not much room to maneuver, though, after the teams recent struggles. And being involved in a two-legged Champions League quarterfinal series against Manchester City will test the strength of the squad. Tottenhams hardest remaining league game is against City, too.
Remaining matches: Huddersfield (home), Manchester City (away), Brighton (home), West Ham (home), Bournemouth (away), Everton (home).
Only Manchester City has better form than fourth-place Arsenal in the Premier League over the last five games, after earning 13 points from a possible 15. And with 10 straight home wins, Arsenals credentials at Emirates Stadium are not in question.
Its the teams away form that is an issue — and five of its remaining seven games are on the road, starting on Sunday against at improving Everton.
Another thing that could affect the team is its involvement in the Europa League. Arsenal faces Napoli over two legs in the quarterfinals starting next week and manager Unai Emery, a winner of the competition three times with Sevilla, is sure to take it seriously.
Arsenal, however, appears to have the most benign run-in as it doesnt face an opponent in the top six for the rest of the season.
The Europa League should initially be less of a distraction for fifth-place Chelsea, which was drawn against possibly the weakest team in the quarterfinals — Slavia Prague. It should mean manager Maurizio Sarri can continue to field a weakened team in the competition.
Winning the Europa League might even prove to be the best route back to the Champions League, with a couple of tough away games making their bid fRead More – Source