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In Focus: The race for the top four

In Focus: The race for the top four
© Reuters
Arsenal currently occupy fourth place.

Arsenal's 1-0 win over Watford moved Unai Emery's side into fourth place and put them in pole position to claim the final Champions League qualification berth.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at how that race is shaping up.

Tottenham (currently third, 67 points)

Harry Kane's injury is a blow to Tottenham's top-four hopes
Harry Kane's injury is a blow to Tottenham's top-four hopes (John Walton/PA)

Two months ago Spurs were still being talked about as title contenders so the very least they must achieve now is a top-four spot. However, only three points separate them from sixth-placed Manchester United. Of their remaining five fixtures, the trip to Manchester City is the most testing and they have three matches at home. The only downside is Harry Kane is potentially out for the rest of the season with an ankle problem.

Fixtures: Man City (a), Brighton (h), West Ham (h), Bournemouth (a), Everton (h)

Arsenal (fourth, 66pts)

The Gunners have been far from convincing in their last two league matches, a 1-0 defeat at Everton and the 1-0 win over 10-man Watford. The victory at Vicarage Road was only their sixth away from home in the league this season and with only two of their final five matches at the Emirates, there will still be a concern. Trips to Leicester and Wolves look potential stumbling blocks but Arsenal do have the backstop of winning the Europa League to secure a return to the Champions League next season.

Fixtures: C Palace (h), Wolves (a), Leicester (a), Brighton (h), Burnley (a)

Chelsea (fifth, 66pts)

The form of Eden Hazard is key to Chelsea's top-four hopes
The form of Eden Hazard is key to Chelsea's top-four hopes (John Walton/PA)

Maurizio Sarri's side are the ones at a disadvantage as they have played one more game than all of their top-four chasing rivals. What will be pivotal to their hopes is the trip to Old Trafford at the end of the month and the form of Eden Hazard, who has been one of only a few players firing on all cylinders recently. Striker Gonzalo Higuain has scored just once in his last 10 matches and his January loan signing has failed to provide the impetus needed. They too have the possible safety net of the Europa League.

Fixtures: Burnley (h), Man Utd (a), Watford (h), Leicester (a)

Manchester United (sixth, 64pts)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has witnessed a dip in results following his appointment as Manchester United manager
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has witnessed a dip in results following his permanent appointment as Manchester United manager (Martin Rickett/PA)

A dip in form – two defeats in four league matches – has slowed down the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer juggernaut which appeared to be driving United back into the top four after languishing outside of it for so long under predecessor Jose Mourinho. On paper they have the toughest run-in of the contenders, heading to Everton on Sunday before hosting Manchester City and Chelsea in back-to-back games. If they cannot win at least two of those three then matches against bottom-three sides Huddersfield and Cardiff may come too late to save them. Key to it all is likely to be the form of midfielder Paul Pogba and forwards Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Fixtures: Everton (a), Man City (h), Chelsea (h), Huddersfield (a), Cardiff (h)

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Lucas Moura takes the match ball after netting a hat-trick for Spurs on April 13, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City35292489226789
2Liverpool35277179205988
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal35206969462366
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd35197963501364
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35149124443151
8Watford35148135050050
9Everton35147145044649
10Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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