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Premier League top-four race for Champions League qualification analysed by form, fixtures and Sky Sports pundits

Arsenal and Tottenham are firmly in the hunt for Champions League qualification; West Ham, Man Utd, Wolves still in with a shout; watch the race for the top four unfold live on Sky Sports


Manchester City and Liverpool are fighting for the title but the race for fourth is heating up too.

Chelsea have long looked set on finishing third but could they be sucked into the battle to finish in the top four?

Tottenham and Arsenal are the frontrunners to grab fourth from the chasing pack, with West Ham, Manchester Utd and Wolves in with a shout.

It's an intriguing race to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Here, we assess the runners and riders in the battle for fourth, their form and their fixtures until the end of the season...

The table...

The fixtures...


Position: 3rd
Games played: 29
Points: 59
Top-four Sky Bet odds: 1/25
Active cup competitions: Champions League, FA Cup

Chelsea appeared to be virtually guaranteed a top-four finish until Brentford derailed their impressive run of form, with Arsenal and Tottenham ramping up the pressure.

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Thomas Tuchel's side were early title contenders but have slipped away during the campaign, while questions remains whether the Blues can stay focussed on the pitch during the unsettling sale of the club.

The title tilt began to wane in early November, failing to record back-to-back league wins after a 1-1 draw against Burnley until the recent run of five successive victories.

Tuchel's side have also navigated numerous competitions, including all domestic cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.

Key fixtures: Arsenal (H) - Wednesday Apr 20; kick-off 7.45pm, West Ham (H) - Sunday Apr 24; kick-off 2pm, Wolves (H) - Saturday May 7; kick-off 3pm, Man Utd (A) - Sunday May 15; kick-off 3pm


Position: 4th
Games played: 30
Points: 54
Top-four Sky Bet odds: 1/1
Active cup competitions: None

Tottenham had alternated between wins and losses in each of their last seven games but were able to post back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time in 2022 with victory over West Ham before the international break and they made it three in a row with a 5-1 win over Newcastle which moved them into fourth on Sunday.

Boss Antonio Conte says his side are improving - but the competition for the top four is tough.

"I'm seeing great improvement in many aspects. The technical, tactical aspects, the mentality," he said.

"We know very well that in this race there are other teams that may in this moment have an advantage. Arsenal has to play two games [they have since lost at Crystal Palace]. Don't forget Manchester United. Don't forget West Ham and Wolverhampton is having a fantastic season. This league is very difficult. I'm happy because hard work is paying off. Every player is improving and for this reason Tottenham is going up and up."

Key fixtures: Brighton (H) - Saturday Apr 16; kick-off 12.30pm, Leicester (H) - Saturday Apr 30; kick-off 3pm, Liverpool (A) - Saturday May 7; kick-off 3pm, Arsenal (H) - TBC


PA - Mikel Arteta

Position: 5th
Games played: 29
Points: 54
Top-four Sky Bet odds: 5/6
Active cup competitions: None

Arsenal endured a torrid opening to the campaign, losing their first three matches to suffer their worst start to a season in 67 years. They were rock bottom of the Premier League with Mikel Arteta under pressure, but the Spaniard has overseen a remarkable recovery at the Emirates Stadium.

Their 1-0 victory over Aston Villa saw the Gunners claim a 10th Premier League victory in 13 games, conceding just eight goals in that 13-game period. However, a bad 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace has raised questions about whether they can complete the job.

"It's a bad night for Arsenal but it's important they don't panic," Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher said after that defeat at Selhurst Park. "They're still in a really good position - a better position than Tottenham and Man Utd.

"It will be a big boost for Man Utd and Tottenham. But there's a long way to go."

Key fixtures: Brighton (H) - Saturday April 9; kick-off 3pm, Chelsea (A) - Wednesday April 20; kick-off 7.45pm - live on Sky Sports, Manchester United (H) - Saturday April 23; kick-off 12.30pm, West Ham (A) - Sunday May 1; kick-off 4.30pm - live on Sky Sports, Tottenham (A) - TBC

West Ham

Mark Noble celebrates with teammates after scoring West Ham's third goal (AP)

Position: 6th
Games played: 31
Points: 51
Top-four Sky Bet odds: 28/1
Active cup competitions: Europa League

West Ham had a fantastic start to the season. Under David Moyes, the Hammers were flying high and looked real contenders for the top four. Despite wins at home against Liverpool and Chelsea though, they suffered a bit of a blip with back-to-back defeats to Wolves and Man City in November before successive defeats to Arsenal and Southampton in December.

They responded well, though, and wins against Watford, Crystal Palace and Norwich put them firmly back in the race for Champions League qualification. But defeat to Manchester United on January 22 saw them concede fourth place on a weekend in which Arsenal dropped points and Tottenham lost to Chelsea.

A narrow win over Watford got them back on track, but subsequent draws against Leicester and Newcastle saw their top-four bid stutter before they rounded off February with an important three points at home to fellow European challengers Wolves.

Defeat at Tottenham before the international break came at the end of what Moyes described as a "good week" for the club, having sealed progression to the Europa League quarter-finals. That could be their best route into next season's Champions League now, although a win over Everton has kept them in the hunt.

West Ham's run-in to the season looks tricky, with trips to Chelsea and Brighton to come. They also face Arsenal and Man City at home. If they are going to reach the top four, West Ham will have to do it the hard way.

Key fixtures: Chelsea (A) - Sunday April 24; kick-off 2pm - live on Sky Sports, Arsenal (H) - Sunday May 1; kick-off 4.30pm - live on Sky Sports, Man City (H) - Sunday May 15; kick-off 3pm, Brighton (A) - Sunday May 22, kick-off 4pm.

Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick

Position: 7th
Games played: 30
Points: 51
Top-four Sky Bet odds: 8/1
Active cup competitions: None

United will end a fifth successive season without a trophy as the club find themselves at yet another crossroads. Hopes of lifting the Champions League always looked faint and their failure to land a glove on Atletico Madrid saw them meekly tumble out at the round-of-16 stage.

Having finished as Premier League runners-up and lost the Europa League final on penalties, hope of further progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fuelled by the summer acquisitions of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But they were out of the Carabao Cup in September then humbled on home soil by Liverpool and Manchester City, with the 4-1 loss at Watford leading to Solskjaer's exit in November. Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has only lost two Premier League games but there have been too many draws and disjointed displays, plus they are out of the FA Cup and Champions League.

The club have now won just two Champions League knockout matches in the last decade - a period in which their gross transfer spend is reported to be £1.4 billion.

The fact a club of United's stature went for an interim appointment in November says everything about the long-term planning at a club whose interest in Ajax's Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is well documented. Thomas Tuchel's name has also been mentioned since issues at Chelsea began to brew.

Football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher want to make an appointment before the summer to provide a foundation to build on. Unless performances improve, the club could even slip into the Europa Conference League or miss out on European football for the first time since they finished seventh in 2013/14. That possibility ramped up with a draw at home to Leicester.

Key fixtures: Liverpool (A) - Tuesday April 19; kick-off 8pm - live on Sky Sports, Arsenal (A) - Saturday April 23; kick-off 12.30pm, Chelsea (H) - Sunday May 15; kick-off 3pm.


Wolves defenders Romain Saiss, Max Kilman (centre) and Conor Coady have impressed this season (PA)

Position: 8th
Games played: 31
Points: 49
Top-four Sky Bet odds: 500/1
Active cup competitions: None

Wolves had a rocky opening to the season with three successive 1-0 losses under new manager Bruno Lage that left them 18th in the league. One of those losses came against Nuno Espirito Santo's Tottenham, who had left last season to take charge of the north London club.

However, Lage has since overseen an improvement in his side's form with impressive victories against Aston Villa, West Ham and Brighton. Though they are the third-lowest scoring team in the division with 24 Premier League goals, their defensive nous has been a key component of their rise up the table. They have conceded just 21 times this season, a record that is bettered only by Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Their start to 2022 was impressive, with successive victories over Manchester United, Southampton and Brentford.

Home and away defeats to Arsenal were setbacks, but they did immediately respond to the loss at Molineux to the Gunners with key victories over Tottenham and Leicester which kept Wolves firmly in the hunt for European qualification.

The Midlands club were back on track from successive wins over Watford and Everton - but their dramatic 3-2 home defeat to Leeds means it is now looking increasingly likely that a Europa League berth is the limit of their aspirations, although a 2-1 win over local rivals Aston Villa boosted the mood after the international break.

Key fixtures: Brighton (H) - Saturday April 30; kick-off 3pm; Chelsea (A) - Saturday May 7; kick-off 3pm; Liverpool (A) - Sunday May 22; kick-off 4pm; Man City (H) - TBC

Watch the race for Champions League qualification unfold live on Sky Sports.

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