Updated: Jul 16, 2020
With three matches left in the season for most teams, the biggest competitions in the Premier League continue to be for European qualification and to avoid relegation. Here’s where things stand for both. As a note, I’ve assumed that the top seven will qualify for Europe.
Chelsea has only two matches remaining after beating Norwich on Tuesday. Christian Pulisic continues to be impressive, and Chelsea fans have to be looking forward to him being able to link up with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in the Champions League next season. At this point, Chelsea qualifying seems likely, though they have a tough remaining schedule with Liverpool and Wolves. If they do manage to qualify, they’ll have to do something to shore up their backline (though the same can be said for much of the table).
One of the hottest teams in the league, Man U has two very winnable games before ending the season with Leicester, with Crystal Palace and West Ham. It’s hard to imagine the Hammers in particular being able to handle the potent attack that’s been shown since the restart. Given Leicester’s run-in, a Top 4 place could be clinched before their meeting.
Leicester may be regretting their collapse against Bournemouth for a long time, especially missing out on the higher prize money of the Champions League. They have the toughest remaining schedule of any team competing for these spots, with Sheffield, Tottenham, and Man U left. Leicester’s favored in the first two, but a slip up in either could kill their Champions League chances.
Almost assuredly headed for the Europa League next season, with an outside chance of the Champions League if the teams ahead of them collapse. Wolves and Leicester City continue to be the teams looking most likely to consistently challenge the Top Six.
Sheffield’s the rare team in the top half of the table that gets by on the strength of their defending, doing so with innovative tactics at the same time. If they manage to hang on to their Europa League spot, they’ll need to find a way to add more depth given the challenge they’ll be facing to balance the competitions.
The most likely team to break into the top seven that isn’t there currently, with Jose Mourinho emphasizing his desire to win the Europa League again. Unfortunately, the new stadium and Mourinho’s approach are making sustained success moving forward look more unlikely, and depth has been significantly reduced in recent years. Mourinho’s focus on defending has proven to be effective in his other stops; the problem is that it’s a tactic that doesn’t gel with the strengths of much of his squad. On top of that, it will be difficult to make significant changes while income is limited by the stadium and competition is fierce for most of the positions that need to be improved. It may actually be better for Tottenham that they avoid Europe next year and can focus on the Premier League with their top heavy squad.
Arsenal and Burnley
Both unlikely to challenge for Europe at this point, though neither is out of the running and are both favorites in two of their remaining matches. Either would need a substantial amount of help from those above them at this point.
Could have their survival pretty much set if they manage a win against Watford this Friday, especially due to their strong goal difference and Bournemouth having to match up with Man City. West Ham is the most intriguing of this group – they have enough attacking pieces to have an extremely strong offense if they can add a creative piece down the middle. However, they also clearly have the potential to continue to leak goals at the back, especially since Issa Diop could be a hot commodity in a market where a number of teams will be looking for Center Back help.
Watford may need a win this Friday, with Arsenal and Manchester City still remaining. They’ll find themselves hoping that neither Bournemouth or Aston Villa continue to find some form if they aren’t able to at least take one point from West Ham.
Saved some chance of survival with their comeback against Leicester, but chances are still slim. They’ll need to pull off an upset at some point, and likely multiple given the gap in goal difference to the teams above them.
Certainly have the chance to be playing for survival on the final day of the season, with many looking at their matchup with West Ham as the potential for both teams to be battling to stay up. Villa is likely actually better off if West Ham wins on Friday – a less motivated Hammers team provides a better chance, especially since it’s more likely that the GD gap with Watford could be made up than that with West Ham.