Daniel James.

How Premier League has become a race for third

Thursday 02 July 2020 13:44

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has remained consistent in claiming Manchester United have been targeting third spot rather than a top-four place that would guarantee Champions League qualification.

Following the restart, Leicester City's healthy lead over the chasing pack has been eroded with the Foxes winless so far and on a run of one victory in eight league games since 22 January.

The 2015/16 champions' 2-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park, with ex-Red Michael Keane named Man of the Match, leaves them still in third but only three points clear of United after our comfortable 3-0 success at Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday.

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Leicester have a superior goal difference of nine, largely due to their 9-0 thrashing of Southampton earlier in the season, but their form will be a concern for manager Brendan Rodgers, with the Reds travelling to the King Power Stadium on the final day of the campaign.

Chelsea remain fourth following their 10th loss of the Premier League season, at London rivals West Ham United on Wednesday. David Moyes's Hammers boosted their bid to beat the drop by coming from behind to win 3-2 to end the Blues' 100 per cent start to football's resumption. Frank Lampard's side will play us in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley but both clubs also have sights firmly fixed on playing Champions League football in 2020/21.

Not all results have gone United's way, though, with Wolves shading their clash with Aston Villa 1-0 at the weekend, ensuring they are also on 52 points, like the Reds. The Molineux outfit are now the only team with a flawless record since the restart, but it is worth noting they travel to Stamford Bridge on what is shaping up to be an intriguing final day.

Meanwhile, Arsenal closed to within six points of fifth with a comprehensive 4-0 demolition of Norwich City.

The Gunners have posted three consecutive wins in all competitions to lift their mood ahead of the run-in.

Tottenham and Burnley are on 45 points in eighth and ninth respectively, although Spurs still have a fixture to play during this round, at home to Sheffield United (10th, on 44 points) on Thursday.

As the race is well and truly on for those third and fourth spots, here are the remaining fixtures for the teams between third and 10th place:

LEICESTER: Crystal Palace (H) 4/7, Arsenal (A) 7/7, Bournemouth (A) 12/7, Sheff Utd (H) TBC, Tottenham (A) TBC, Man Utd (H) 26/7.

CHELSEA: Watford (H) 4/7, Crystal Palace (A) 7/7, Sheff Utd (A) 11/7, Norwich (H) TBC, Liverpool (A) TBC, Wolves (H) 26/7.

UNITED: Bournemouth (H) 4/7, Aston Villa (A) 9/7, Southampton (H) 13/7, Crystal Palace (A) TBC, West Ham (H) TBC, Leicester (A) 26/7.

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WOLVES: Arsenal (H) 4/7, Sheff Utd (A) 8/7, Everton (H) 12/7, Burnley (A) TBC, Crystal Palace (H) TBC, Chelsea (A) 26/7. 

ARSENAL: Wolves (A) 4/7, Leicester (H) 7/7, Tottenham (A) 12/7, Liverpool (H) TBC, Aston Villa (A) TBC, Watford (H) 26/7.

TOTTENHAM: Sheff Utd (A) 2/7, Everton (H) 6/7, Bournemouth (A) 9/7, Arsenal (H) 12/7, Newcastle (A) TBC, Leicester (H) TBC, Crystal Palace (A) 26/7. 

BURNLEY: Sheff Utd (H) 5/7, Burnley (H) 8/7, Liverpool (A) 11/7, Wolves (H) TBC, Norwich (A) TBC, Brighton (H) 26/7.

SHEFFIELD UNITED: Tottenham (H) 2/7, Burnley (A) 5/7, Wolves (H) 8/7, Chelsea (H) 11/7, Leicester (A) TBC, Everton (H) TBC, Southampton (A) 26/7.

Figures correct as of 13:00 BST, 2 July 2020.

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