The Premier League Top Four Battle

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Big developments took place in the Premier League top-four race this weekend. Chelsea dropped points from a winning position against Wolves and Tottenham kept their chances of Champions League football alive by holding title-chasers Liverpool to a draw at Anfield.

But the biggest victors of the weekend were fourth-placed Arsenal. The Gunners beat Leeds 2-1 at home to move four points clear of Tottenham in the battle for fourth place.

As things stand, with three games left to play, Chelsea are in third place on 68 points. They face Leeds this week and could secure Champions League football with a win at Elland Road. However, on Thursday, Arsenal, currently in fourth spot, face fifth-placed Tottenham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a showdown for the Champions League places.

With a huge round of Premier League fixtures coming up, we look at how the top four could unfold this week and you can see the latest predictions here.

Leeds vs Chelsea

On Wednesday, Chelsea travel to Leeds and the Blues know a win would cement their place in the Premier League top four. However, if they continue to drop points, the West Londoners could be caught by both Arsenal and Spurs.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are also in patchy form, having won once in their last five Premier League matches, a 1-0 home win against West Ham thanks to Christian Pulisic’s injury-time winner.

The Blues are also winless in their last three after throwing away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Wolves on Saturday. Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the second half and Chelsea were on track for three points until Wolves scored twice in the final 20 minutes, including a 97th-minute equaliser.

Despite the downturn in form recently, Chelsea will take some confidence from the fact Leeds has lost their last two matches and find themselves in the Premier League’s bottom three. But Tuchel’s side will need to be at their best to do a professional job in Yorkshire to try and secure third spot.

Tottenham vs Arsenal 

The North London derby is always a full-blooded grudge match between Tottenham and Arsenal. However, this match carries an additional bite as only four points separate Arsenal in fourth and Spurs in fifth.

Ultimately, Spurs have to win to stand any decent chance of catching the Gunners. Alternatively, a draw would rely on Arsenal dropping points in their last two matches, while a loss would see Mikel Arteta’s side definitely claim the fourth spot.

In terms of team form, Arsenal has winning momentum behind them. They have won their last four in a row, including big wins in the top four race against Chelsea (4-2), Man United (3-2) and West Ham (2-1).

In comparison, Spurs’ recent Premier League results have dipped in recent weeks. Tottenham have only won once in their last four matches, beating Leicester 3-1 at home, which followed a 0-0 draw at Brentford and a 1-0 home loss against Brighton. However, Antonio Conte’s side held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday, which is likely to give his side a huge confidence boosts ahead of the North London derby.

In terms of head to heads, there is little separating Tottenham and Arsenal. The Gunners have claimed the bragging rights in the last two meetings, beating their rivals 3-1 in September and 2-1 late in the 2020/21 season. Although, Spurs have fared better at home in recent North London derbies, winning four and drawing one of the last five meetings in Tottenham.

As the Premier League top-four race comes to a head this week, there is still plenty at stake for the three teams involved. Chelsea and Arsenal hold the cards, but any slip up from either side could invite a late Tottenham challenge as the season enters its final week.

Author: Phyllis Andrews