Today, I am going to have a look at the remaining games for the Champions League challengers, and offer an insight to what I think might happen, and where that would leave each club come the end of May.
Picking a favourite for the two remaining spots is difficult, although Arsenal should hang on, despite their recent bad form, although should Newcastle, Spurs and Chelsea win their game in hand, four clubs would be separated by four points going into the final three games.
I am going to go ahead and predict the results of the final games though, and see what outcome is arrived at:
Stoke (A) – DRAW 1-1
Stoke are difficult to play against at the Britannia, and I don’t think this will be an exception. Despite not having much to play for, they always rise to their home crowd, and I think they will scrape a draw here.
Norwich (H) – WIN 3-1
Norwich were well beaten by Blackburn today, and although have had a great first season, they are petering out, and I think that will continue as Arsenal look to end the season much better than this week, picking up 1 point from two home games. Their firepower will be too much at the Emirates.
West Brom (A) – WIN 2-1
The Hawthorns is never an easy place to go to, but with the potential top four spot still being up for grabs, I think that Arsenal can sneak a win here, but expect that to be a draw should Arsenal already have third wrapped up.
Arsenal – 72 points
Wigan (A) – WIN 3-1
Wigan have left their marks on both Arsenal and Man United, but I expect them to extend their win streak to seven in this game, heaping further misery on Wigan. Saying that, Newcastles away form has been poor before the last two wins, so don’t expect them to have it all their way at the DW.
Chelsea (A) – LOSE 2-1
This has a potential to be a massive game, although Chelsea might still have Champions League qualification in their own hands, should they reach the final of this years competition. I think Chelsea will be too strong at Stamford Bridge, and should they progress against Barcelona, expect them to finish in style.
Man City (H) – LOSE 2-0
Another massive game, as the title race could still be well in the balance, but should Man Utd wrap the title up at the Etihad, this scoreline could well be different. Tevez and Aguero look scarily good at the moment though, and should they still be challenging for the title, this one will be going to the team in Blue.
Everton (A) – WIN 2-0
Despite poor away form, Everton will be rolled over on their own turf here by a Newcastle team eager to end the season on a high, and make up for the previous two losses. Very likely they will still have a lot to play for at this point, whether it be Champions, or Europa league qualification.
Newcastle – 68 points
Blackburn (H) – WIN 2-1
One win in nine games. What else can you say for Harry’s team, author of the book ‘Title challengers, to Europa League contenders in 10 games’ hardly a best-seller.
I do fancy them to pick up a much needed win here though, at home to a Blackburn team desperate for points, but this will be more fuel for the Kean and Venkys out brigade, as I expect a typical hard-fought win, to ease pressure on themselves and try and grasp back fourth spot.
Bolton (A) – LOSE 1-0
Bolton have a massive fixture away at Aston Villa, and should they win there, which I expect them too, I think that could well push their survival campaign on, and Spurs wont have it their own way at the Reebok, with a typical backs-to-the-wall performance, and a much needed win for Wanderers.
Aston Villa (A) – WIN 2-0
The key to this game will be the first 20 minutes, Villa’s terrible home form has been due to the amount of draws, and if Spurs get in their faces early, it could be an easy day, as the Midlanders don’t offer much going forward. If they do lose against Bolton, or Blackburn, then this becomes a must win game, and they must be careful, as the Villa have drawn nearly half of their games this season.
Fulham (H) – DRAW 1-1
Martin Jol has done brilliantly, and seventh spot could still be up for grabs, Fulham will frustrate and annoy Redknapp’s team, and are likely to attack early, try and steal a goal to defend. I don’t think Spurs will enjoy this game at all, and will come away with a draw, that might not be good enough, as I think they will need to win this game to pip Newcastle on goal difference.
Tottenham – 66 points
QPR (H) – WIN 2-0
Di Matteos 10 wins from 14 games is not to be overlooked, as Chelsea focus on their run-in, they have beaten Barcelona, Napoli, and Benfica at the Bridge, meaning I think they will heap pressure on their London rivals, especially as QPRs away form has been less than impressive recently
Newcastle (H) – WIN 2-1
This will be a big game, but Newcastles form must end at some point, and with 5 losses in their last 8 away games, I think Chelsea will find them out, although they may well have one eye on the FA Cup final three days later, and should they have progressed to the CL final, they may well go about qualification by winning that.
Liverpool (A) – DRAW 1-1
A repeat of the FA Cup final to be played on the weekend before this, and I expect both teams to be feeling that, and despite Chelsea having more to play for, I don’t see Liverpool going down easily, and a draw seems very likely to me in this one.
Blackburn (H) WIN 2-0
Rovers could still be fighting for their lift at this point, but I think they might already be down, hence the prediction. I have three teams locked horns on 65 points, which sets the final game up for a fantastic finale. Should this happen, and Arsenal lose their next two, all four teams could have the same points, a dream scenario for the neutral. However, I am backing Tottenham to continue their poor form, meaning Chelsea should have to match Newcastles result to beat them to fourth on goal difference. Should Blackburn still have survival at stake, they still should be victors, although it may be a tad harder.
Chelsea – 68 points
So, should my predictions be spot on, apart from the fact I wish I would’ve bet on them, the table will be as follows:
3. Arsenal – 72, +27
4. Chelsea – 68 , +23
5. Newcastle – 68, +12
6. Tottenham – 66, +20
By Brad Smith