What a strange weekend of football?
I have written before about how 75 points was what was needed to finish top 4. A few replied saying that would not be enough, and it would require closer to 80 points. My methodology for 75 was based on Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester United having dropped plenty of points this season and still having some tough games to go.
A few games, the maths was simple. Arsenal had to win there two remaining home games and get 6 points from 15 on the road.
The run started off with a 1-0 defeat to Everton. Not a surprise to lose. We then picked up 3 of the 6 away points against a 10-man Watford in a lacklustre display. And then we come to thisTop 4 back in Arsenal’s hands despite Crystal Palace defeat weekend.
The defeat against Crystal Palace was tough to take. It was our home form that had kept us in the race for a top 4 finish, so to lose so limply was frustrating. After the game a mate said “you get one of those a season” and he was right.
Almost every season, teams lose a home game against someone they should have beaten.
Manchester City also lost at home to Crystal Palace. Chelsea lost at home to Leicester. Tottenham to Wolves. Only Liverpool have dominated at home against the lower teams this season. That knowledge did not soften the blow of the defeat, however.
With Manchester United losing to Everton, victory over Crystal Palace would have seen Arsenal move to 3rd place, and top 4 well and truly in sight. The defeat meant that for the first time in a while, we were relying on others to drop points.
And then we have last night. Chelsea at home to Burnley. No one would have been expecting them to drop points, but they did.
Usually at this time of the year, those mid-table teams have turned off. Heads on the beach. It is perhaps testament to their professionalism that Palace, Burnley or Everton did not turn off and all got well deserved points.
The draw for Chelsea swung the pendulum back into Arsenal’s favour in what will probably be the defining 7 days of Premier League football.
To start with, I think we can all write off finishing 3rd following the defeat to Crystal Palace. Spurs surely have it wrapped up with the ease of their run in.
So that leaves Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United chasing top 4.
In the next 7 days Arsenal have 2 tricky away games to Wolves and Leicester. Neither will be easy. You can picture a scenario where Arsenal come away with zero points.
Manchester United also face 2 tricky games at home – versus Manchester City and Chelsea. The Man U v Chelsea game is the West London sides only fixture in the next 7 days.
Arsenal could well find themselves 4th; 5 points clear of Chelsea in 5th by this time next week. They could also just as easily find themselves 4 points behind.
As for Manchester United, they currently sit 3 points off the pace of 4th. You have to feel that they need Arsenal to lose both games, and beat Chelsea, to stand a chance of finishing top 4. By the time the weekend is out, they could find themselves 8 points off top 4.
It is tight in that race for the top 4, and any dropped points in the next 7 days will be crucial.