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The Race for Europe: Which EPL Clubs Will Qualify for the Champions League?

As it the Premier League table stands at the moment, Manchester United are looking set to snatch back the trophy from the blue half of Manchester. Twelve points clear with 12 matches to play is a rather large hurdle, but in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” This is certainly true of positions 2-6 and who will get the Champions League/Europa League places.

What has made the top of the table so interesting this year is the continued form of both Tottenham Hotspur and Everton as well as the relative inconsistency of Manchester City and Chelsea. Tottenham are currently sitting in 4th place on 48 points followed by Chelsea with 49 points in third and City in second place with 53 points. That is only a 5 point lead for Manchester City with Tottenham set to play Chelsea on the road and City at home while Chelsea will also have to travel to Man City on Feb 24th.

These matches could lead to some interesting developments in the top four positions. Add to this the inclusion of Arsenal (44 points) and Everton (42) and the battle for European places gets very exciting indeed. Everton has already gotten their fixture with Manchester United out of the way and are set to play Arsenal (A), Manchester City (H), Tottenham (A) and then wrap up the season away to Chelsea. Meanwhile Arsenal have Tottenham (A), Everton (H), and Manchester United (H) yet to play. From the looks of it Arsenal might have an easier go of it.

Each team has the standard mid table and bottom of the table matches as well which could always lead to a slip-up. There is still plenty to play for in the middle of the table as well for spoilers like Liverpool, Swansea City, West Brom, and Stoke City so nobody is going to be able to relax.

Another thing to remember is that Arsenal is still involved in both the Champions League and FA Cup which could turn their heads and cause some tiredness (Arsene has already played this card earlier in the season). Everton has the FA Cup, but this could do more to give them confidence than anything in my opinion. The same is true of Manchester City. Tottenham may not have the FA Cup, but they are still in the Europa League, which could lead to some interesting team selections and form in the coming weeks. Chelsea could have it the worst off being involved in both the FA Cup and Europa League. Their FA Cup run could hinder them more than anything. Being dumped out by League One Brentford would not be helpful at all and could hurt their morale. Progressing would just add another match to an already busy fixture list.

Several of these teams are going to have some tough decisions to make in the coming weeks in terms of focus. I would say that Chelsea is going to have it the roughest which could open the door for Everton and Arsenal to battle for the fourth position. Tottenham will also need to decide if they are going to make a push in Europe this year, or make the push for a Champions League place. Manchester City seems likely to make a push for the FA Cup this year, but will this come at the expense of getting second?

The way I see it, the top four spots are wide open. This is going to be a crucial time for teams to make their push. If any team starts to slip, the others need to be ready to step up. I do not see Manchester City with a lock on second, nor do I see Chelsea with a lock on third. I would not be at all surprised by Tottenham and Everton moving up the table. City and Chelsea really need to cut out the mistakes if they want to maintain the status quo at the top.

What do you think? Will Manchester City hold the others off to maintain second? Perhaps Arsenal will make a push to claim a Champions League spot, or better yet, Everton?

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  1. March

    February 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Man U, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal in the Champions League.

    Spurs, Everton, Swansea(League Cup) to Europa League.

  2. Henry

    February 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Manchester United and Manchester City will finish first and second.

    Third and fourth will be fought by Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal. This battle will go down to the very last day of the season.

    One of Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal will join Everton to finish 5th and 6th.

  3. Aziz, KL-Malaysia

    February 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    1. ManU
    2. Man-City
    3. Arsenal
    4. Chelsea
    5. Spurs
    6. Liverpool
    7. Everton

    • Sammy

      February 14, 2013 at 5:55 am

      You very sure Liverpool will finish above Everton?

  4. spuds4me

    February 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Its going to be tough to call. As a Spurs fan I’ve been raised on a diet of being stuffed by Arsenal on the run-in, however my team looks a good deal tougher now with strength in depth throughout the squad – except in strikers where we’re a bit lacking, however we have a ceratin Gareth Bale; if he stays fit we can get 4th and maybe even 3rd if Chelski continue being erratic and hazard keeps kicking ball boys.
    I must admit City looked pretty crappy against the saints and none too hot against liverpool too, but with their talent I can’t really see them dropping second, well maybe its possible but unlikely.
    Initially you’d think the crunch games between the top 6-7 would decide, but often its not the case and its the mid-table teams that teams can under-estimate at this tme of the season.
    Gonna be exciting whatever happens, but yanited for the title – in other words normal service resumed. At least we took 4 points of em this year!

  5. Marc L

    February 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Chavski of course being Evil too. But in a way I dislike them far less than the clubs I kind of came up hating back in the day.

  6. Marc L

    February 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    If you look at the last 3 matches City has played you’d think they would be lucky to hold off Spurs, Le Arse, and Chavski. So, out of UCL, which would be a huge disappointment for the club obviously.

    But if you looked at the overall run before that you would think otherwise.

    As with most things, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. They should hold on to 2nd or at worst 3rd.

    For the rest, I can’t figure Everton for a slot. Leaving the question as one of whether Arsenal can catch Spurs. Spurs have looked far better over the past few months. Arse has a way better GD but I think a lot of that came from some utterly brutal floggings they put on a handful of clubs. (Soton, West Ham, Toon). A 5-2 on Spurs also if I remember correctly. But I can’t remember Spurs just wiping anyone out this year at any point.

    Anyway, for what little it is worth I stick with my usual program as far as what I hope happens: philosophical support to the traditional underdog “Non-Evil” Clubs. Opposition to those who are, in fact Evil. (rags, Arse, Liverpool.) Even though my previously Non-Evil club in fact became Evil circa 2009 or so.

  7. Matt

    February 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    To me, 4th place is really a competition between two clubs (Spurs and Arsenal). Everton draw too many matches and probably lost their opportunity as did Liverpool with their loss to WBA.

    In terms of Europa League, its hard for me to get excited about that race when in reality next season whoever does qualify for it will play with a “B” squad for most of the group stage. England and Italy seem to be the countries who really don’t bother with this tournament. I’d like to see some new faces there, but even they won’t take the EL seriously (Stoke used their “B” team in some of their EL matches as well, a team in no danger of relegation and playing in Europe for the first time in decades!)

  8. DZ

    February 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    (Everton fan) I’m afraid Everton’s already missed their chance w recent draws to Aston Villa, Swansea, and Southampton. Hurts too much to not have 4-6 more points out of those 3 matches to have a real chance at 4th table, in my opinion. Now will take multiple slip-ups by both Spurs and Arsenal.

  9. Christian

    February 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    As a City supporter I feel like we can hold on to a top three spot (hopefully). I’d love to see Spurs make the top three and Chelsea or Arsenal to finish fourth.

    No offense to the other clubs. I really do love Everton and feel their time is coming but not this year. Liverpool as well look good but need some more time to come together.

    • Paul

      February 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Everton will never truly have their time until they’re sold and have more funds flowing through. Their best players always end up being sold on to bigger clubs… They’ve always been the same. Top 5 for them would be an amazing achievement all in all.

      Liverpool are far too inconsistent and have a lot of work left to do over the summer and beyond. They’ve shown real promise at times but they still need to do a lot of work. Realistically this year, top 6 would be a good finish.

      • Why?

        February 14, 2013 at 3:57 am

        Pay to my knowledge Everton lost around £10m last year and are in about £50m of debt. Their is no knight in shinning armour coming to invest as they are not allowed. The very fair FFP UEFA and now premier rules say they cannot. As this investment would take Everton above their means. Mr Kenwright would be able to invest around £15m this year that might get a good player or to but add another £8-£14m loses next time. It a viscous circle all hail FFP keeping the top clubs top! You lot wanted it, now ya got it! Lol

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