The Premier League may not have much of a title race to speak of this season, but the battle to finish in the top four and earn a place in next year’s Champions League will continue until the last day. .
Chelsea and Leicester City are currently in third and fourth place, but Liverpool can jump to fourth place with a win at Burnley on Wednesday night.
The Independent broke down what’s left of the fixtures, checking the home and away points average per game and the expected average goal difference (xGD) of their remaining opponents.
Who has the best run-in and who has the worst?
Difference in objectives: +23
Break-in difficulty: ⭐⭐1 / 2
Nothing less than revenge for the FA Cup final defeat on Saturday and a win over Leicester would have sowed turmoil in Chelsea’s hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.
Luckily for Thomas Tuchel, their position suddenly looks much stronger after goals from Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Chelsea passed Leicester to move to third, one point clear and with a three-goal cushion on goal difference, which could prove crucial.
The three dots mean that they are in control of their own destiny. A final day trip to a struggling part of Aston Villa is not too intimidating but quite difficult. Tuchel will always have to make sure his players get the job done.
4. Leicester City
Difference in objectives: +20
Break-in difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐
Leicester’s loss leaves them counting on results elsewhere, starting from Turf Moor on Wednesday night. If Liverpool win away at Burnley they will pass over the FA Cup winners before the final matchday.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that Kelechi Iheanacho’s strike at Stamford Bridge limited the damage to a one-goal loss.
If Liverpool win their last two games and Leicester beat Tottenham at King Power on the final day, it will come down to a goal difference with last year’s champions currently having a goal clear.
But all of this can wait now. Brendan Rodgers just needs to win on Sunday and is hoping that will be enough to take his team over the line.
Difference in objectives: +21
Break-in difficulty: ⭐1 / 2
Whatever the outcome at Stamford Bridge would help Liverpool. But of all the possible outcomes, a narrow Leicester defeat was probably the worst.
Essentially, this means that their fate is not strictly in their hands. A victory at Turf Moor will take them over Leicester on goal difference. Whether or not they qualify for the Champions League will depend on how much Leicester’s final result improves.
On paper, their showdown is the easiest and has been for a long time, but they have always worked hard, losing points late to Leeds and Newcastle before their goalkeeper heroics at the Hawthorns.
Crystal Palace then visit Anfield on the last day. Could Roy Hodgson deny his former Champions League football club in his last management game?
What if Chelsea finished outside the top four but won the Champions League?
In this scenario, Chelsea would join the Premier League’s top four in the Champions League next season as the Premier League’s fifth representative.
The Premier League can send a maximum of five teams to the Champions League.
Fourth places would only have missed out on qualifying if Chelsea had won the Champions League while finishing outside the top four and Arsenal had also won the Europa League.
Arsenal’s semi-final elimination at the hands of Villarreal means the teams that finish in the top four will all advance to the Champions League.