Each club has two matches to play to the end of the 2012-13 season, three clubs – Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal – and two places remain in the top-4 with Champions League qualification there for the taking. Will all the issues be settled this weekend or will it run on to a dramatic final day scenario as Andre villas-Boas suggested a number of weeks ago?
Arsenal were the chief benefactors from the mid-week draw between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. The result kept all three clubs within three points of each other with Chelsea in third two points ahead of Arsenal whose one point advantage over Spurs restores their control over their own destiny.
Chelsea (3rd) 69 points
A win at Stamford Bridge would have guaranteed Chelsea a place in the Champions League next season as they have a vastly superior goal difference over Tottenham. They travel to Villa Park today to play Aston Villa who have moved up to 13th place in the Premier League after winning their last two games against Sunderland and Norwich City. While not mathematically safe from relegation, they have 40 points which should ensure their survival. Chelsea know that a win will guarantee their Champions League place and allow them to concentrate on next week’s Europa Cup Final match against Benfica in Amsterdam. Any slip ups by Chelsea would require them to take points from Everton at Stamford Bridge which will be David Moyes last game as Everton manager before he takes over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
Tottenham (5th) 66 points
Tottenham travel to Stoke City tomorrow knowing that they must win to maintain pressure on Arsenal who don’t play until next Tuesday as Wigan play Manchester City in today’s FA Cup Final. If they can take the three points from Stoke who have removed their relegation worries by taking seven points from their last three matches, Spurs would take the battle for a Champions League finish to the final day of the season when they face Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
Arsenal (4th) 67 points
Arsenal’s form since losing to Spurs at White Hart Lane at the beginning of March has seen them undefeated in 8 Premier League games, winning 6 and drawing two against Everton and Manchester United at home. Arsenal know that two more wins will ensure another top-4 finish regardless of what Tottenham achieve but if Spurs drop any points against Stoke that requirement would be reduced to one win. A Tottenham win at the Brittania Stadium would require Arsenal to defeat Wigan and then win at Newcastle on the final day.
This weekend could well resolve some of the questions around Champions League qualification but if not, an interesting week is in prospect as the season draws to a climax.
Up-date 1: (11th May, 2013 – 2.50pm)
Chelsea’s win at Aston Villa after a late Frank Lampard goal with one minute of normal time to play, has secured their Champions League place as they are now 6 points ahead of Tottenham with a superior goal difference. Once again, it’s now between Spurs and Arsenal for the final Champions League spot.
Up-date 2: (11th May, 2013 – 8.00pm)
Wigan’s manager, Roberto Martinez is confident that his FA Cup winning team can avoid relegation.
Up-date 3: (12th May, 2013 – 4.00pm)
Tottenham’s win at Stoke moves them into fourth place two points ahead of Arsenal who play Wigan on Tuesday. The final Champions League is going to be decided on the last day of the season!
Up-date 4: (14th May, 2013 – 10.00pm)
Arsenal’s win over Wigan has returned them to third, a point ahead of Spurs, relegated Wigan and ensured that they are in control of the outcome of their season. It’s now down to the last day of the season – Arsenal only need to match Tottenham’s result to secure the Champions League place. Tottenham, on the other hand, must win and hope that Arsenal don’t get more than a point at St. James’ Park.