So all that leaves is the race for the top four; English football’s promised land that offers the riches and razzmatazz of Champions League football next season.
There are, perhaps, four teams that could finish in those three available places, so who represents the best betting value?
(Odds on a Top Four Finish: 1/66)
Tottenham are all but guaranteed a top four finish. They are eleven points clear of Manchester United in fifth, and while the Red Devils have a game in hand they only have a maximum of 24 points to win. Even allowing for them winning 50% of those points, Spurs would have to lose every one of their remaining fixtures.
As we can see, that is almost unthinkable:
15 April – Bournemouth (h)
26 April – Crystal Palace (a)
30 April – Arsenal (h)
5 May – West Ham (a)
14 May – Man Utd (h)
18 May – Leicester (a)
21 May – Hull (a)
(Odds on a Top Four Finish: 1/4 with Paddy Power)
Liverpool are well placed on 63 points in third, although they could be usurped by Manchester United if they win both of their games in hand.
The worry for Jurgen Klopp is that one of his best players, Sadio Mane, is out for the season with a knee injury, while two others – Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson – will be sidelined for another couple of weeks at least.
The Reds have conceded more goals than any other side in the top seven, and without Mane and Lallana their goal threat is greatly diminished.
You suspect there might be a few bumps in Liverpool’s road to the Champions League just yet, but in their favour is a pretty agreeable run of fixtures:
16 April – West Brom (a)
23 April – Crystal Palace (h)
1 May – Watford (a)
7 May – Southampton (h)
14 May – West Ham (a)
21 May – Middlesbrough (h)
(Odds on a Top Four Finish: 1/8 with bet365)
It seems almost unthinkable that Manchester City wouldn’t finish in the top four, but in fourth place at the moment their position is uncertain.
They are two points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, but only four clear of their Manchester rivals who have a game in hand on them. It really is a tangled web.
Intuitively though we suspect they will be fine; City possess such firepower that they have the weapons they need to win matches, claim points and secure their spot in next season’s Champions League.
15 April – Southampton (a)
27 April – Manchester United (h)
30 April – Middlesbrough (a)
6 May – Crystal Palace (h)
13 May – Leicester (h)
16 May – West Brom (h)
21 May – Watford (a)
(Odds on a Top Four Finish: 9/2 with BetVictor)
Manchester United are in a unique position given that they have played fewer games than those around them in the league table.
However, there is a caveat to that: Jose Mourinho has placed a premium on performing well in the cup competitions, hence their triumph in the EFL Cup and their progress to the quarter finals of the Europa League.
Those additional fixtures have placed extra pressure on their playing staff, who have a hectic run-in to the end of the campaign. If anything should happen to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they are done for.
They are unbeaten since October 23 in the Premier League, which is an extraordinary run, but they simply have drawn too many matches: seven of their last eleven have ended in stalemate.
With a tricky run-in which features games against Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal, we’d be surprised if they could maintain an assault on the top four.
16 April – Chelsea (h)
23 April – Burnley (a)
27 April – Manchester City (a)
30 April – Swansea (h)
7 May – Arsenal (a)
14 May – Tottenham (a)
17 May – Southampton (a)
21 May – Crystal Palace (h)