Race for top four: How do the fixtures stack up for the Big 6?

We take a look at the remaining fixtures for the top six clubs and what each needs to do to finish in the top four.

Mohamed Salah has contributed immensely to Liverpool this season.   -  AFP

Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea on Sunday (February 25) kicks off the Premier League top-four race. The top six clubs face each other on pretty much every weekend from now until the end of this season and the dogfight is only going to intensify. The teams placed from second to fifth are separated only by four points — Manchester United 56, Liverpool 54, Chelsea 53, and Tottenham Hotspur 52.)

  Here, Sportstar looks at the remaining fixtures for the top six clubs and what each needs to do to finish in the top four.

Manchester United

At home: Chelsea, Liverpool, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Arsenal, Watford (in that order)

Away: Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham United

The Red Devils’ top-four destiny is likely to be decided by its results at Old Trafford, against the other teams in the top six. Its record against the top teams this year is poor by its standards, having won just two matches and collected seven points from a possible 18. An improvement on that tally, in the four remaining fixtures, will go a long way in helping the team finish in the top four.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool is currently placed third in the league.   -  AFP

  Liverpool

At home: West Ham United, Newcastle United, Watford, Bournemouth, Stoke City, Brighton and Hove Albion

Away: Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea

Liverpool’s achilles heel, ever since Jurgen Klopp took over in October 2015, has been its inability to dispatch the mid-table teams and those fighting relegation. Newcastle, Watford and West Brom have managed to hold the Reds to draws this season and the return legs against these clubs will determine where this Merseyside club finishes.

Chelsea

At home: Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Huddersfield Town, Liverpool

Away: Manchester United, Manchester City, Burnley, Southampton, Swansea City, Newcastle United

Chelsea arguably has the toughest job among the top six, with matches against four of its five direct opponents at  Stamford Bridge or away. Chelsea’s squad depth is likely to be tested in the coming weeks given its involvement in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. Like Manchester United, Chelsea’s final league position will be determined by its results against those around it.

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur is poised to finish in the top four.   -  AFP

 

Tottenham Hotspur

At home: Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, Manchester City, Watford, Leicester City

Away: Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Stoke City, Brighton and Hove Albion, West Brom

If Spurs maintains its current league form — undefeated in nine matches and 21 points from a possible 27 — it’s poised to finish in the top four for a third consecutive season. Its home form has picked up after a rocky start and if Harry Kane continues to be prolific in front of the goal, who can stop Mauricio Pochettino’s team? But Spurs doesn’t have the squad depth like that of Manchester clubs.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is the runaway leader.   -  AFP

  Manchester City

At home: Chelsea, Manchester United, Brighton, Swansea City, Huddersfield Town

Away: Arsenal, Stoke City, Everton, Tottenham, West Ham, Southampton

Man City needs six more wins to secure the Premier League. With a 16-point lead over the second-placed Manchester United, its spot in the Top 4 seems seems guaranteed, but it still has work to do to secure the title.

Arsenal

At home: Manchester City, Watford, Stoke City, Southampton, West Ham United, Burnley

Away: Brighton, Leicester City, Newcastle, Manchester United, Huddersfield Town

Seven points adrift of fifth-placed Tottenham, Arsenal’s final league position is likely to depend on the results of the other contenders. Its best chance of playing the 2018-19 Champions League is by winning the Europa League.