The race for the final two Champions League positions has gone right down to the wire, with Leicester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all in with a chance of finishing in the top four going into Sunday’s final round of fixtures.
As things stand, third-placed Chelsea, who can also qualify for next season’s Champions League if they beat Manchester City in this year’s final, are one point ahead of Liverpool in fourth, while Leicester occupy fifth position and are only behind the Reds on goal difference.
The Blues know a victory at Aston Villa will guarantee them a top-four finish, but anything less will hand Liverpool and Leicester the chance to overhaul them, should the duo defeat Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.
Should Chelsea overcome Dean Smith’s side, then fourth position will be filled by either the Reds or the Foxes, who will have to outscore Jurgen Klopp’s men by five goals if they both pick up victories.
It wouldn’t be the Premier League if there weren’t a few different permutations heading into the final day and it promises to be an exciting round of fixtures, which all kick off at 16:00.
Blues to Secure Third
After losing to Leicester 1-0 in the FA Cup final, Chelsea bounced back superbly by beating the Foxes 2-1 in the Premier League three days later, a result which has put them in the box-seat for a top-four finish.
The Blues travel to Villa Park and this season’s Champions League finalists are unbeaten in the 12 away games across all competitions under Thomas Tuchel, winning nine and drawing three.
Chelsea have kept seven clean sheets during that run, scoring more than twice themselves on just one occasion, and backing the away side to win and under 2.5 goals in the match looks a good shout at
Reds to Suffer Anfield Agony
Back in March, Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool faced a “near impossible” task to finish in the top four but now, with just one game remaining, they are on the verge of ensuring they play in next season’s Champions League.
A nine-game unbeaten run in the league, of which they have won seven times, for the Reds has seen them climb into fourth and, on paper, they should have enough to overcome visitors Palace.
However, this will be Roy Hodgson’s last game in charge of the Eagles after it was confirmed he would be leaving and the former England boss would love to get one over on one of his former employers.
Palace have won two of their last four matches, getting the better of Sheffield United and Aston Villa, and Sunday’s visitors could be worth a go in the double-chance market at
No Deja Vu for Leicester
FA Cup winners Leicester famously slipped out of the top-four positions last season, giving up a big points advantage over the chasing pack, and that is exactly what will happen again this term as things stand.
First things first, the Foxes need to defeat Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium and that is something that looks likely to happen, with the visitors picking up just one win from their last seven away outings across all competitions.
With Brendan Rodgers’ men potentially needing to outscore Liverpool by five goals, expect this to be an attacking encounter and backing over 3.5 goals at
13/10 looks good value.
Europa League Battle to be Decided
In regards to the Europa League positions, sixth-placed West Ham will qualify for next season’s competition if they avoid defeat at home to Southampton, but any slip-up would open up the door for Spurs and Everton.
Tottenham currently hold the Europa Conference League spot but, with a tricky trip to Leicester, they could drop out of this position. Everton, level on 59 points with Spurs, could make the most of this opportunity, although they travel to champions Manchester City.
It may, therefore, be prudent to back Arsenal to sneak into seventh. The Gunners, on 58 points, play host to Brighton and Mikel Arteta’s men could end the season on some sort of a high.
*All odds correct at time of writing