Premier League Race for the Top 4

Andrew Kim ‘23

As the Premier League season comes to a close, the title race and the regulation battle is still on as Manchester City sit on top only one point above Liverpool and Everton, Burnley, & Leeds compete to stay above as of May 2, 2022. However, another race is notable in the form of the fight for the 4th. In the Premier League, the top 4 teams at the end of the season qualify for UEFA Champions League the next season. As City, Liverpool, and Chelsea have seemingly run away from the rest, securing the top 3 spots, only one Champions League qualifying spot remains. Fourth place is heavily contested between North London rivals Totttenham and Arsenal.
With 34 matches having been played by each of them, Arsenal currently are 2 points ahead. After a rough start to the season, Arsenal’s squad has successfully found their stable form and look to carry this momentum to the end. Featuring the youngest squad in the Premier League filled with academy graduates, the Gunners received lots of skepticism regarding their team’s experience and squad depth [1]. Nevertheless, after getting rid of dead weight at the club, Arsenal were able to boast their ability to cultivate their academy stars through the numerous successes they experienced throughout the season, such as beating Chelsea in the North West London Derby a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, rivals Tottenham have also gone through a similar revitalization of the club this season. After a lackluster first part of the season with manager Nuno, they acquired the services of Antonio Conte who won Serie A while managing Inter Milan the previous season. Through Conte, Tottenham Hotspur found its feet again quickly, immediately going on an undefeated streak of 9 games. Likewise, Spurs have also offloaded many of their players on loans and permanent deals to prioritize the first team squad, and it has proven successful for Conte. With a comfortable 3-4-3 lineup, the team lists notable players, such as Kuluveski, Romero, Kane, and Son who has found this season to be his most successful ever in terms of goals and assists. While Arsenal lead the race, Tottenham cause some worry as they are the top scorers in the league in 2022 after beating Newcastle [2].
Both teams look to maximize their acquisition of points from the last 4 games in the season. Arsenal face Leeds, Spurs, Newcastle, and Everton while Tottenham will play against Liverpool, Arsenal, Burnley, and Norwich. Currently, Tottenham look to have the harder schedule, facing Liverpool who are determined to challenge City for the title. However, the main focus is on the Spurs vs. Arsenal, the North London Derby, matchup on May 12. The teams will directly compete against each other, making this match a deciding factor in who will qualify for Champions League next year. Even though Tottenham are 2 points down from Arsenal, there is still a strong chance of finishing top 4. Both teams have not played their best recently, with Arsenal losing 3 in a row recently while Spurs lost against Brighton and tied with Brentford. With this, it is likely that either team can drop points in future matches, allowing the other rival to quickly ascend to top 4 [3].
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[2] ashing-newcastle