The Premier League top-four race
Arsenal and Manchester City are shoo-ins to finish in the top four of the Premier League table this season as they’re 20 points and 14 points clear of fifth place as Gameweek 31 approaches, so betting for the title-chasing duo has been suspended by Bet365.
What’s not completely clear is who could join Arsenal and Man City in the top four out of Newcastle United (1/5), Manchester United (1/8) and Tottenham Hotspur (3/1), Liverpool (10/1) and Brighton & Hove Albion (11/1). Aston Villa is an outside bet on (100/1), but they rose from 11th to 6th in a matter of weeks.
Newcastle (1/5 to finish top-four)
Third in the table with 56 points from 29 games, while coming off the back of five consecutive league wins, the Magpies are odds-on to seal Champions League football next season. Newcastle is three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand and has only lost three times.
United have the best defensive record (21) in the league, so a top-four spot is theirs to lose. The Toon Army have Tottenham (home) to face later in April, so that might be the decider. But with Liverpool and Man City being the only sides to beat Eddie Howe’s men this season, Newcastle is a solid bet.
Man Utd (1/8 to finish top-four)
Fourth in the table with 56 points from 29 games, Manchester United are also odds-on to finish in the top-four.
The Red Devils’ last four games of the season are against West Ham United (14th), Wolverhampton Wanderers (13th), Bournemouth (15th) and Fulham (10th), so they’re expected to have a strong finish.
United picked up 12 points against the four teams earlier in the season, so they shouldn’t fall out of the top four in the final stages. They’re another safe bet.
Tottenham (3/1 to finish top-four)
Tottenham are only one place and three points adrift of the top four, but they have played a game more than the teams around and still don’t have a permanent manager after Antonio Conte left, so they are an outside bet.
Spurs have Newcastle, Man Utd and Liverpool in the coming weeks which could see them fall short of a Champions League spot. Given the North Londoners picked up zero points from a possible nine in the reverse fixtures, it’s hard to see them going on a run now. Top-four unlikely.
Liverpool (10/1 to finish top-four)
Liverpool are a bigger outside bet than Spurs. The Reds are eighth in the table and 12 points adrift of the top four with 27 points remaining, so they need a perfect finish to stand a chance of getting into the Champions League. Jurgen Klopp’s men are coming off the back of four games without a win, so they’re not in form for the run-in, however.
Liverpool’s next three games are winnable – Leeds (16th), Nottingham Forest (18th), West Ham (14th) – but just under half of their remaining games are away from home and the Reds have dropped points in 80% of their matches on the road. Miracles can happen, but Liverpool finishing in the top-four probably won’t
Brighton (11/1 to finish top-four)
Brighton sits seventh with two games in hand on most teams around them, so they could go within a point of fifth-placed Tottenham if they won both. The Seagulls can’t be left out of the conversation mathematically, but they have a very difficult end to the season.
Albion still has to face Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Aston Villa before the campaign comes to a close, so it’s hard to see them catching Spurs in the coming weeks. It’s looking like Newcastle and Man Utd are in pole position.