With all of the sides in the #Premier League now having just thirteen matches to play in the regular season, the battle for the top four and the riches that can bring is warmly up nicely for a tight finish. Chelsea would seem favourites for the title itself, although Manchester City will not throw in the towel any time soon one would expect, as they seek back to back titles themselves. It would, however, be a brave man indeed who would foresee either of those two powerhouses slipping up significantly, before the league places have been determined. That would seem to leave the two remaining spots in next season's Champions League competition as being between up to six other teams.
#Manchester United have moved up to third after their solid 3-1 victory over strugglers Burnley last night, but despite all of their alleged firepower up front, they had to rely on Chris Smalling's brace to set them on their way, before Robin van Persie chipped in with a late penalty. However, with no European distractions this campaign, they would seem destined to clinch either of the third or fourth places that would get them back into Europe next term, although given their ongoing weaknesses at the back, that can by no means be taken as a certainty. They also have a challenging run-in on paper, with Spurs, Manchester City and #Arsenal all to visit Old Trafford yet, while they also face potentially daunting away fixtures at Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton.
One point behind them in the current table sit Southampton, who continue to defy their critics by maintaining a top four place. They did, however, miss the opportunity to put much needed distance between themselves and the chasing pack yesterday, as they were unable to turn both home advantage and an extra body on the pitch for the last thirty minutes against West Ham into a victory. They can be expected to continue to challenge until the end, but would look likely to just miss out in the run in. If the places are still up for grabs at the death, they have an interesting final match to look forward to, away at Manchester City.
Arsenal are breathing down Saints' neck in fifth, just a point behind and seemingly likely to maintain Arsene Wenger's top four record it seems. However, they suffered against Spurs in the local derby and again struggled to clinch success against bottom side Leicester City on Tuesday night. Should they lose main striker Alexis Sanchez between now and the end of their campaign, they may slip back. However, the two home games they have left against Chelsea and Liverpool, and especially the away match at Old Trafford in May, could prove to be pivotal results for their chances.
Spurs demonstrated their capabilities this term with a fine win over Arsenal in the recent derby and a close run-thing at Anfield. If Harry Kane continues his impressive scoring run, then they may be the dark horses to sneak up into the places. White Hart Lane fans will hope that the Europa League and Capital One Cup final do not distract them from their league ambitions, with tough away fixtures at Manchester United and St Mary's to come yet.
Liverpool lie seventh and could well challenge towards the end, especially if Daniel Sturridge remains healthy and scoring. The enigmatic Mario Balotelli made a timely contribution in the Spurs' match and they probably need more from him in their remaining games. The Europa League may interrupt their chances, especially if they stay in the competition for any length of time, as the Thursday travelling is not ideal for the following weekend's preparations. Captain Steven Gerrard will not want to depart empty handed though, so should fight to the end of the season. With both of the Manchester clubs still to play at home, plus Saints, Arsenal and Chelsea away, it seems a tall order though to breach the gap to the top four, although not impossible.Sam Allardyce's West Ham side sit in eighth position, eight places off fourth-placed Saints, so would appear to be outsiders for the top places. They look to be capable of winning their last five matches, but before that have tricky away fixtures at Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City. As a result, they may find themselves too far back to climb much higher, although they could have a major influence on how the other sides above them do.