Premier League race to the top four

For all intents and purposes, the top-three teams in the Premier League have been decided as the league prepares to resume play.

We don’t really need any complex EPL predictions to know who will be at the top of the table, however, at least half a  dozen teams will view themselves as being in contention for the last Champions League spot. So, which team is going to grab it?

  • Chelsea currently holds fourth-place and has an advantageous schedule down the stretch.
  • The return of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba could fuel Manchester United’s Champions League hopes.
  • Wolves remain a serious dark horse to claim a top four spot.
  • Sheffield United has been a surprise all season, but they have a big hill to climb to accomplish what seemed impossible at the start of the season.
  • Spurs get Harry Kane back from injury after the break, but questions about their defense linger.
  • Arsenal has a chance, but the Gunners will have to hit the ground running when play resumes with a difficult schedule ahead.

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Chelsea

The Blues currently own fourth-place in the Premier League and will welcome back Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic from injury when play resumes. They also have a manageable schedule once they get past a home date with Manchester City in the second game back from the break.

However, the status of N’Golo Kante remains up in the air. He would be a massive loss in the midfield if he chooses not to play amidst the pandemic. There’s also a lot of pressure on them and little margin for error with so many teams chasing them down.

Manchester United

The Red Devils only trail Chelsea by three points, so they feel good about where they sit at the moment. United will feel even better knowing that Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba will be back from injury. Pogba, in particular, is the X-factor, as he’ll have a lot of rust to shake off, but is capable of making a big difference.

With games against Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United right off the bat, we’ll find out quickly if the Red Devils are up for it, and we will see if they can be one of the Champions League picks out of the Premier League.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

People tend to overlook Wolves, but they’re very much in the chase for a top-four spot. They no longer have to worry about playing Europa League in the midst of the Premier League season, which should help out a club without as much depth as the teams ahead of them. Until they play Chelsea in the final game of the season, Wolverhampton plays all of its remaining games against teams below them in the standings, which works in their favour.

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Sheffield United

The Blades were the biggest surprise of the Premier League before the stoppage. Can they pick up where they left off and become one of the Premier League picks to advance to the Champions League? For what it’s worth, Sheffield hits the road for three in a row once play resumes.

They also play six of their final nine games against teams in the top half of the table. If Sheffield somehow manages to reach the top four, they’ll have earned it.

Tottenham Hotspur

The return of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son from injury could be monumental for Tottenham, who have seven points to make up in order to reach the top-four. Defense has been the biggest problem holding back Spurs this season. Kane and Son will help them score goals, but Jose Mourinho has to shore up the backline for Tottenham to have a chance.

Arsenal

The name Arsenal is the biggest reason the Gunners are still in the top-four race. They are eight points behind Chelsea, albeit with a game in hand. The Gunners are also on the road for their first three Premier League games after the break, including their date with Manchester City to restart the season. July matches with Wolverhampton, Leicester City, Tottenham, and Liverpool will make for a tough schedule with little margin for error.

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