Chelsea and Wolves on the rise as Leicester falter: Latest on the Premier League top four race

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Liverpool became Premier League champions for the first time last week, and while the battle for the title was over long before the Reds were officially crowned, there is still plenty to play for in the final stages of the season.

With seven games - and 21 points - of the delayed campaign remaining, the race for the top four looks set to go down to the wire.

Realistically, there are five teams in contention for two places. Eighth-placed Sheffield United and Arsenal, in ninth, are still potentially in the running, but are excluded from this list on account of the points gap (10 and 11 respectively) and the number of teams they need to overhaul.

Here, we look at the clubs still firmly in contention for a place in next season's Champions League and assess their chances of claiming a coveted top four slot.

Fifth place could be enough, although Manchester City are confident of overturning their ban, having submitted their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Leicester City (3rd, 55 points)

Leicester looked to be assured of third place, but a recent wobble combined with improved form of the chasing pack has Brendan Rodgers' side looking over their shoulders.

The restart has brought successive draws against two teams battling relegation (Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion), so should be viewed as missed opportunities.

Even before the coronavirus lockdown, the Foxes were faltering, with two wins in eight games prior to the shutdown.

Leicester's run-in is far from straightforward and includes two matches against top four rivals. They need to find an upturn in form to avoid a late drop out of the Champions League places.

Remaining fixtures: Everton (A), Crystal Palace (H), Arsenal (A), Bournemouth (A), Sheffield United (H), Tottenham (A), Manchester United (H).

Leicester City drew their first two games since the restart. AFP
Leicester City drew their first two games since the restart. AFP

Chelsea (4th, 54 points)

The situation looks more optimistic at Chelsea, who have hit the ground running since the restart, with successive 2-1 wins over Aston Villa and recently-deposed champions Manchester City.

Four wins and a draw in their past five matches have moved the Blues just a point behind Leicester and a kind upcoming run of fixtures could cement a top four place for Frank Lampard in his first season in charge.

Qualifying for the Champions League was the priority at the start of the season, but having lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and dealing with a transfer ban that meant no new arrivals, Chelsea were expected to be in for a tough campaign.

There is still plenty of football to be played, but they have put themselves in a strong position to achieve their primary objective.

Remaining fixtures: West Ham (A), Watford (H), Crystal Palace (A), Sheffield United (A), Norwich (H), Liverpool (A), Wolves (H).

Chelsea won both games since the restart. AFP
Chelsea won both games since the restart. AFP

Wolves (5th, 52 points)

Only one defeat in their past 11 games and five wins in their past six, Wolves have put themselves right in the top four mix.

The restart has begun with three successive wins and clean sheets, against West Ham, Bournemouth, and Aston Villa.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side have played one game more than their rivals, but their good form and favourable run-in should give them every reason to believe they can clinch a Champions League place.

Remaining fixtures: Arsenal (H), Sheffield United (A), Everton (H), Burnley (A), Crystal Palace (H), Chelsea (A).

Three wins in three matches since the restart have put Wolves in top four contention. AFP
Three wins in three matches since the restart have put Wolves in top four contention. AFP

Manchester United (6th, 49 points)

Unbeaten in seven and with four wins in their last six games, Manchester United have surged into contention since the turn of the year.

That good form can be attributed in part to the January arrival of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who has brought goals, creativity and class to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

United have arguably the kindest run-in of the five clubs in the top four chase and will hope to have their berth secured before their trip to Leicester on the last day of the season.

Remaining fixtures: Brighton (A), Bournemouth (H), Aston Villa (A), Southampton (H), Crystal Palace (A), West Ham (H), Leicester (A).

Manchester United have arguably the kindest run-in of the top four contenders. AFP
Manchester United have arguably the kindest run-in of the top four contenders. AFP

Tottenham Hotspur (7th, 45 points)

It would take a dramatic turn of events for Tottenham to sneak in to the top four but Jose Mourinho's team are still in the contention.

Spurs will likely need to win all of their remaining games, and having won four of their past 11, they will need to find much better form.

The lockdown has allowed Harry Kane time to return to fitness, which is a significant boost to their chances, but will the England captain's influence be enough? At this stage probably not, but Spurs do have a decent run of fixtures.

They can't afford any slip-ups, though.

Remaining fixtures: Sheffield United (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (H), Newcastle (A), Leicester (H), Crystal Palace (A).

Tottenham have been able to call on Harry Kane since the restart. EPA
Tottenham have been able to call on Harry Kane since the restart. EPA

Updated: June 28, 2020 05:02 PM

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