There are still a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ to be solved as the Premier League season heads in the the final two weeks. Some teams will play twice this week as they look to make up points on the sides above. Arsenal and Burnley are separated by just three points in the table and the pair meet at the Emirates on Sunday. Victory for the hosts will confirm their 6th place finish with it now looking unlikely that they can improve on that. Four straight home wins have helped to keep Arsenal in the Europa places but it is their away form which has cost them a higher finish. They have a chance to correct that on Wednesday as they travel to Leicester looking for their first point away from home of 2018. Burnley are now unlikely to drop lower than 7th and, given the sides remaining in the FA Cup, their qualification to the Europa League next season is all but confirmed.
Champions Manchester City face two sides from the bottom half this week as they chase a record-breaking end to the season. A win in each of their remaining games would hand them the record points total, goals scored and possibly the margin of victory. They face Huddersfield at the weekend aiming for their 31st win of the league campaign. Huddersfield have been on a poor run and face a difficult end to the season. They are still not safe from relegation with only a three-point cushion to the sides below. Any points return would be welcome but it’s a difficult task. Huddersfield then face Chelsea in mid week while City face Brighton.
Manchester United kick off the weekends action on Friday night with a trip to Brighton. A win would be their third in a row and all but secure second place in the table. They will be looking to continue momentum ahead of the FA Cup final later this month. Brighton have drawn their last two games but those points have helped inch them towards safety. Although their Premier League status for next season is not yet confirmed, they have a five-point gap to the sides in the bottom three. Brighton will face Man City in midweek while United play West Ham on Thursday.
Tottenham can take a big step towards securing a top-four place if they win their two games this week. They hold a five-point advantage over Chelsea and a win in their game against bottom of the table West Brom will increase the pressure. West Brom are in a bit of a revival at the moment and are on a four-game unbeaten run, winning twice. The likelihood is that it is still too late to save themselves and anything but a win on Saturday will confirm their relegation to the Championship. Tottenham will host Newcastle on Wednesday aiming to go a season unbeaten at home.
Chelsea face a pivotal game at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as they look to close the gap on the top four. They host Champions League finalists Liverpool with a win being enough to move them to just three points behind the 3rd place side. The last two league meetings have ended in a 1-1 draw but Chelsea may look to capitalise on Liverpool’s poor form in the last two games. Three straight away wins have moved Chelsea back in contention and if they continue this way they could jump into the top four. Their second game this week is another home fixture against Huddersfield who are still not yet safe from relegation.
Everton have little to play for but could still finish in 7th. Although it is unlikely they perhaps have a bigger role to play before the end of the season as they can help decide the relegation places. They face 18th place Southampton this weekend who won their first league game in ten last time out. They are now a point from safety but need to continue to pick up points to give themselves the best chance of survival. They have another crucial game in midweek when they take on the side above them in the table Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Another crucial game at the bottom of the table is the game at the Bet365 Stadium as second bottom Stoke City entertain Crystal Palace. Although not mathematically safe, Palace will feel comfortable following their 5-0 win last time out. Their six-point gap over Southampton should be enough to see them safe and in fact, they could still finish in the top half. Stoke, on the other hand, need to win their two remaining games but scoring goals has been their weakness over the last few matches.
Swansea are looking the most likely to drop into the bottom three if anyone below is to survive but they can give their own chances a boost by beating Bournemouth this weekend. Bournemouth are in 12th place in the league and have had a good season so far. Three straight defeats have seen them drop out of the top half though and their lack of form may give the away side hope. Tuesday night’s game at home to Southampton could be the biggest of Swansea’s season.
Neither Leicester or West Ham have won any of their last four games in the league and for the away side that could become problematic if it continues. They are level on points with Huddersfield in the table and need to pick up another point or two to settle any relegation fears. Leicester look set to finish the season in the top half but there are rumours of unrest amongst the players. Given their recent form, the hosts may not find the end of their season too fruitful. Leicester face Arsenal in midweek while West Ham host Man United.
The final game of the weekend is the mid-table clash between Watford and Newcastle. Both sides have done enough to secure safety this season after experiencing difficulties at one point or another. Watford are three points behind their rivals but have picked up just two points in their last five games. Newcastle have won three games in the same time and moved ahead but they have fallen again after losing their last two games. Newcastle face Spurs in mid-week.
Although their season has ended prematurely Arsenal can still play for some pride. With a difficult summer ahead the club will go through a change of management for the first time in 22 years and so the players may have to impress a new manager.