The race for Premier League’s top four race and hope of Champions League football next season is heating up, with just four, three points separating Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham in seventh.
Spurs’ 5-1 thumping of Newcastle means Arsenal have to win on Monday night at Crystal Palace to regain the fourth spot, while West Ham’s 2-1 victory over Everton saw them leapfrog United into fifth – after Ralf Rangnick’s men were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Leicester on Saturday.
Moneycentral looks at the key Premier League fixtures that are likely to play a big part in which side secures their place in European club competition next season.
Spurs vs Arsenal
The North London Derby was scheduled to take place in mid-January but was postponed after Arsenal’s squad was hit by Covid, injuries, suspensions and the Africa Cup of Nations. After months of waiting, supporters of both clubs have finally found a new date for the game, with it taking place on Thursday 12 May.
The match will play a big role in where both teams finish this season. Both teams are tied on points but Spurs sit in fourth place with more goal difference, but Arsenal have one outstanding game in hand.
Spurs’ thrashing of Newcastle typified their threat in front of goal and Arsenal will have to figure out how to contain that if they are to take anything away from the game.
Liverpool vs Manchester United
With just one win from their last six games in the Premier League, Manchester United are far from favourites to clinch the final Champions League spot, especially after their 1-1 draw at home to Leicester on Saturday.
They will also not be fancied on their visit to Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying, in-form Liverpool side on Tuesday 19 April, but this match has the potential to be of real importance in the battle for the top four and Liverpool’s case, of course, the title.
In United’s case in their two matches before the visit to Anfield – away to Everton on Saturday 9 April and home to Norwich City on Saturday 16 April – Rangnick’s men have a great opportunity to get six points under their belt and build some much-needed momentum.
Arsenal vs Manchester United
With two games in hand and level on points with Spurs, Mikel Arteta’s side are best-placed to secure Champions League football next term.
This clash with Manchester United comes three days after a visit to third-placed Chelsea and is a fixture that has little significance to these two sides’ mid-2000s glory days.
West Ham United v Arsenal
David Moyes’ West Ham have been the surprise package of the Premier League this season, rising beyond all expectations to become real contenders for a Champions League finish and enjoying a stellar run in the Europa League.
Spurs, Arsenal and Man United all have games in hand on the Hammers – but it would be unwise to write them off. For so long a picture of disunity and discontent, the club and its supporters have coalesced around the team Moyes has built to forge a powerful bond.