Premier League

The race for the Champions League - Man Utd stumble

Man City's victory against CAS on Monday has meant we are back to a top four qualifying for the Champions League - but who will it be?

 
3:00pm on Tuesday 14th July 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

The Premier League is reaching its climax, and with Manchester City now restored to the Champions League, we are back to having a top-four qualification for Europe’s elite club competition.

Since City were initially banned, clubs further down the league retained hope that, should they finish fifth, they would qualify in City’s place.

With that now not being the case, points are more vital than ever as we enter the final three matches of the season.Both City and champions Liverpool have already secured their spots, which leaves two up for grabs.

STANDOUT FIXTURES

When we look to the final games of the season in a couple of weeks, we have Leicester facing Man Utd at home and Wolves hosting Chelsea, meaning that four of the five contenders may face a make-or-break scenario on the final day.

The entire picture could have changed significantly on Monday if Man Utd had managed to defeat Southampton, but they failed after Michael Obafemi scored in the last minute to make it 2-2. If the Red Devils had claimed all three points they would have jumped into third, but for now they remain in fifth.

Leicester have fallen apart since the league returned, having picked up just one win in six. Before the league was postponed they were eight points clear of Man Utd in fifth, and they are now level.

It isn't just the results, either, it's the performances. They may have took the lead against Bournemouth on Sunday, but their capitulation will be worrying for Rodgers, as they eventually allowed the Cherries, who could not buy a win beforehand, to overturn a 1-0 deficit to win 4-1.

Next, they face Sheffield United, then Tottenham, then Man Utd. At the moment, you can't see how they will collect any points from those fixtures.

It looks to be between Man Utd, Chelsea, and Leicester for the last two spots. Not only have United been the in-form team in the league of late, up until Southampton, but they have arguably been the best to watch.

Solskjaer has found a system which brings out the very best in Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood, while Bruno Fernandes will likely go down as one of the club's greatest ever January signings with the impact he has made since signing from Sporting.

For Chelsea, they were poor against the Blades on Saturday, eventually losing 3-0 after their defensive weaknesses were once again exposed in ruthless fashion by Chris Wilder's side.However, they haven't lost two games in a row since December, and after their last defeat against West Ham, they won two on the bounce against Watford and Crystal Palace.

Luckily for Frank Lampard's side, too, is the fact they have already relegated Norwich up next, which should represent a guaranteed three points.

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