Man Utd, Arsenal, Spurs & West Ham battle for Champions League spots as Prem hots up… but who has the hardest run-in?


THE race for the top four in the Premier League has never been hotter.

Manchester City and Liverpool are fighting it out for the title, with Pep Guardiola’s side just about holding the aces.

Man Utd's hopes of a top four finish are getting slimmer by the week

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Man Utd’s hopes of a top four finish are getting slimmer by the weekCredit: AFP

Chelsea have seen their challenge wilt since Christmas and will now have to settle for third or fourth – although boss Thomas Tuchel is refusing to throw in the towel.

With just two months left in the season, there are FIVE teams fighting for fourth – crucially, the final Champions League spot.

But who is favourite to snatch the last place?

SunSport takes a look at the run-ins for Manchester United, West Ham, Arsenal, Wolves and Tottenham.

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ARSENAL

Current position: 4th

Games played: 28

Points: 54

Remaining fixtures: Crystal Palace (a), Brighton (h), Southampton (a), Man Utd (h), West Ham (a), Leeds (h), Newcastle (a), Everton (h), Spurs (a)*, Chelsea (a)*

*Date to be confirmed

Arsenal appear to be in the driving seat to finish in the top four this season

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Arsenal appear to be in the driving seat to finish in the top four this seasonCredit: AP

THE Gunners are in the driving seat ahead of all of their rivals, currently sitting fourth, enjoying a great run of form and holding a game in hand over the rest of the clubs.

Mikel Arteta’s side continued their fine form with a win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

In fact, if they keep up their run – led by their brilliant young stars, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard – they may even catch in-form Chelsea in third.

The Gunners have a tricky run-in but still play all the teams around them, though only Manchester United visit the Emirates, and have no European distractions.

They have their destiny firmly in their own grasp.

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TOTTENHAM

Current position: 5th

Games played: 29

Points: 51

Remaining fixtures: Newcastle (h), Aston Villa (a), Brighton (h), Brentford (a), Leicester (h), Liverpool (a), Burnley (h), Norwich (a), Arsenal (h)*

*Date to be confirmed

Tottenham have been on a great run of late themselves

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Tottenham have been on a great run of late themselvesCredit: AP

CONSISTENTLY inconsistent, Tottenham looked a million dollars against a woeful Everton last week before overcoming rivals West Ham.

That followed a truly dreadful FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough, which followed a brilliant win over Leeds, which followed a dreadful defeat to Burnley, which followed a brilliant win over Man City… you get the idea.

When Spurs bother to turn up they can beat any team in the division and still boast arguably the best striker in Europe in Harry Kane.

Then again, they are equally capable of losing to any team in the division.

Again, Tottenham still have several rivals to face in this race.

If they can finally find some consistency they are more than capable of beating the others to finish in a Champions League spot.

It’s a big if.

MAN UTD

Current position: 6th

Games played: 29

Points: 50

Remaining fixtures: Leicester (h), Everton (a), Norwich (a), Arsenal (a), Brentford (h), Brighton (a), Chelsea (h), Crystal Palace (a), Liverpool (a)*

*Date to be confirmed

WHERE to start with Manchester United?

The club appeared to be lurching towards another crisis when Cristiano Ronaldo went AWOL after being dropped for the humbling defeat to rivals Man City and players out of form throughout the squad.

Ralf Rangnick's side have slipped down the table

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Ralf Rangnick’s side have slipped down the tableCredit: AP

In the final 15 minutes of that 4-1 defeat United managed just EIGHT per cent possession as players downed tools against a totally superior side.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Ronaldo returned with a hat-trick to down Spurs this month but Ralf Rangnick’s side are still trailing them and Arsenal.

If you were to make one argument that United still have a chance then they still have to play the Gunners and Chelsea and also three of the bottom six.

WEST HAM

Current position: 7th

Games played: 30

Points: 48

Remaining fixtures: Everton (h), Brentford (a), Burnley (h), Chelsea (a), Arsenal (h), Norwich (a), Man City (h), Brighton (a)

Michail Antonio and West Ham have a mountain to climb in the race for the top four

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Michail Antonio and West Ham have a mountain to climb in the race for the top fourCredit: Getty

IT WAS all looking so good a couple of months ago, with the Hammers seriously challenging for the top spots.

Fast forward a couple of months and David Moyes’ side is struggling.

After they failed to strengthen in January – again – West Ham have slipped out of the top four.

Sunday’s derby defeat to Tottenham left them six points behind Arsenal, who have also played two less than the Hammers.

But West Ham are also facing further fixtures because of the Europa League.

And while fans and the club are looking forward to their trip to Lyon and dreaming of more European adventures, their extra games do them no favours in the race for fourth.

WOLVES

Current position: 8th

Games played: 30

Points: 46

Remaining fixtures: Aston Villa (h), Newcastle (a), Man City, (h), Burnley (a), Brighton (h), Chelsea (a), Norwich (h), Liverpool (a)

Wolves continue to struggle for goals - but do have a good run of remaining games

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Wolves continue to struggle for goals – but do have a good run of remaining gamesCredit: Getty

The unheralded Portuguese Bruno Lage, who raised a lot of eyebrows when he was appointed, has quietly turned Wolves into one of the best defensive teams in the division.

They have conceded just 26 goals in their 30 games.

Unfortunately, as good as they have been in front of their own goal, they have been as bad in front of the opposition one.

Goals, not clean sheets, win games and with just 31 all season, their lack of firepower may prove costly.

Their race appears to be run, although they have the easiest run-in of any of the teams around them.

Win enough of those and they may just sneak up on their rivals.





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