The English Premier League’s pace was set by Manchester City and Liverpool long ago. The two clubs have outclassed opponents all season long and both will set records by the time the season ends, regardless of which side wins the title.
While both Manchester City and Liverpool have been extremely impressive and fun to watch, the same cannot be said for those teams in third to sixth place. Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United are all fighting for the two final Champions League qualification places.
Each club has its issues and the race for third and fourth place is may come down to the two teams that can right their sinking ship in the final two games of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur currently sit third in the Premier League. Spurs have lost two out of their last three Premier League games including Saturday’s impotent performance against West Ham.
Injuries are playing their part for Mauricio Pochettino as leading goal scorer Harry Kane will miss the remainder of the season. The 17-goal man is a big miss as Spurs lack firepower without him. But it isn’t just Kane who is missing. Tottenham Hotspur are without Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, and Erik Lamela to name just three more players.
Spurs’ transfer market spending, or lack thereof, means Pochettino doesn’t have quality depth to replace those players who are missing. Everything Tottenham Hotspur have achieved is thanks to the master tactician, but when injuries mount, there is only so much the manager can accomplish.
Chelsea may be flying high in the Europa League, where they will play Eintracht Frankfurt in the semifinals, but they are petering out on the domestic front.
Maurizio Sarri’s team is winless in their last three Premier League matches and supporters have been vocal in their desire for him to leave. Has Chelsea’s transfer policy helped Sarri? January loan signing Gonzalo Higuain hasn’t been the goal scorer he was hoped to be. He has tallied just four goals in 12 games.
Eden Hazard hasn’t had the support he needs from fellow attackers. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s defence, which seemed impenetrable at one point, has allowed five goals in their last three games.
Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games with three coming in succession. Sunday’s limp loss to Leicester City saw the Gunners slump to their eighth defeat away from the Emirates this season.
Unai Emery is dealing with injuries, especially the one to talisman Aaron Ramsey. He has been missing since Arsenal’s losing streak started against Crystal Palace. Arsenal better get used to playing without Ramsey, because the Welshman, who has played for Arsenal for over 10 years, will leave the club in the summer for Juventus.
Arsenal will renew their Europa League campaign this week against Valencia. The Gunners have not conceded a goal at the Emirates in the knockout stage of the competition. But with the way things are going right now, Emery’s side could be in for a tough two legs.
Manchester United are the only club of the four chasing a Champions League place that is not playing in Europe. The Red Devils sit in sixth place three points behind Chelsea.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team is winless in eight of their last 10 games with seven of those ending in losses in all competitions. Despite their upswing when Solskjaer took over in December, former manager Jose Mourinho’s claims of the club being broken do appear true.
Perhaps less blame can be put on Mourinho as the club has recruited underperforming, high-paid players under Chief Executive Ed Woodward. With reports that former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand has spoken to Woodward about becoming the club’s new sporting director, supporters should be furious with the way the Red Devils are being run. What makes Ferdinand qualified for the position?
Still, Manchester United are three points off the top four with two games to play. If they qualify for the Champions League, many of the issues in their soap opera like season will be forgotten.