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Could Chelsea spring a top-four shock and beat Tottenham to Champions League place?
Last Updated: 29/04/18 3:59pm
Chelsea have closed the gap to Tottenham to just two points. Will Spurs hold their nerve to hold onto their top-four spot? We take a look at the race for the Champions League places...
Tottenham may have thought they had shrugged off Chelsea's threat with their victory at Stamford Bridge at the start of April. But Antonio Conte's men are back in the hunt for a top-four finish - and the pressure is on Spurs ahead of their Monday Night Football clash with Watford.
A Dele Alli double helped Tottenham to a 3-1 win at Chelsea on April 1. That was the visitors' first win away at their London rivals in 28 years and felt like the defining moment in Tottenham's battle to seal a Champions League qualifying spot, extending their advantage over Chelsea to eight points.
That gap stretched to 10 points when Chelsea were held at home to West Ham a week later.
Premier League table
|Team||Games played||Points||Goal difference|
Fixtures and form have fallen in Chelsea's favour since then, though, and their third Premier League win on the bounce, a 1-0 win at Swansea on Saturday, closed the gap to fourth-placed Spurs to just two points, following Tottenham's defeat to Manchester City and draw at Brighton.
Mauricio Pochettino's side have a game in hand and will be favourites to win all of their remaining matches. But after three games without a win, including last week's disappointing FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United, Spurs need to bounce back...
Chelsea & Tottenham run-ins
Chelsea: Liverpool (h), Huddersfield (h), Newcastle (a)
Tottenham: Watford (h), West Brom (a), Newcastle (h) and Leicester (h)
Worryingly for Spurs, they haven't recorded a win over three of their final four opponents this season, having been held to 1-1 draws by Watford and West Brom and suffering a 2-1 loss at Leicester in November.
They did beat Newcastle 2-0 on the opening day, though, and all four of their remaining opponents could be without any major incentive to play for by the time they meet, with West Brom's near-inevitable relegation looming.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have a tough test at home to Liverpool live on Sky Sports next week. Victory over the Reds would keep them in striking distance of Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp's side will be expected to beat Brighton at Anfield in their remaining match on the final day to guarantee a top-four finish, should they slip up at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea also have Huddersfield at home, before ending their league campaign away to Newcastle, when they'll also have their FA Cup final with Manchester United fast approaching.
What they say
Chelsea's Antonio Conte: "The situation is not in our hands, but the only way to put a bit of pressure on Tottenham is to get three points in every game. It is not simple to win a game in this league but for sure our situation is not in our hands."
Tottenham's Eric Dier: "For the club to get Champions League football again is so important and that's what we're aiming to do by the end of the season. We deserve it and we need to show that in the next four games to earn the right to play in the Champions League next season.
"That's the standard and the level the club is at now and where we deserve to be."
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