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Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Race For 4th

With both Manchester clubs set to finish in the top two and Arsenal looking seemingly comfortable for third place, the three-way battle for the final Champions' League place is one of nerve-racking intensity. Tottenham, Chelsea and surprise package Newcastle are all in the running for fourth, with just two points separating the clubs before kick-off today (Saturday). BeeTeeSports analyses the chances of these clubs for grabbing the all important European qualification place.

Spurs under Harry Redknapp were challenging for the title at one stage in the season, but the North Londoners have been on a horrendous run of form, picking up just one win in the last eight Premier League games. Redknapp's side debatably have the strongest squad out of the three sides in contention (as I have mentioned in a previous article about Spurs being championship contenders, how long ago was that.?..) but there seems to be a lack of effort and drive that was evident earlier in the season. To be fair, their off-the-field problems didn't help them (I wonder how Harry's dog plans to spend his/her millions of pounds) but that shouldn't really be an excuse. They now have a run of fixtures until the end of the season with teams fighting relegation (excluding Fulham), so if they manage to find some winning consistency, then fourth place should belong to Spurs, but it could be difficult for them...

QPR (A) - Draw
Blackburn (H) - Win
Bolton (A) - Draw
Aston Villa (H) - Win
Fulham (A) - Draw

Like their London counterparts, a string of poor results has cost Chelsea dearly, although they now seem a rejuvenated side under the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo. One loss in the last 11 games has completely changed their destined slump to mid-table wilderness, and even better news, Fernando Torres is starting to look like him old self! (We actually mean it, unlike MOTD presenters who say "We are starting to see signs of the old Torres" whenever he makes an accurate pass). However, Chelsea's remaining games are the hardest of the three teams, and they still have an extra competition to deal with in the form of Europe, which is likely to take priority. With this in mind, it will be quite hard for the Blues to finish with a flourish

Arsenal (A) - Loss
QPR (H) - Draw
Newcastle (H) - Draw
Liverpool (A) - Win
Blackburn (H) - Win

If you offered fifth place to a Toon fan before the season began, I'm fairly sure they would have bitten your hand off. The magnificent chemistry that the Newcastle team have with each other is something to be envied by most teams in the Premier League. Pardrew has made one of the signings of the season by bringing in Senegalese strike Papiss Cisse to St James' Park, and he has already repaid him with 10 goals in 9 appearances. With five wins on the bounce propelling them into Champions League contention, the Toon army are set to face a difficult run of fixtures. But on the plus side, they have no prior engagements to deal with (unlike Spurs and Chelsea). Acknowledging all the positives, it looks like Champions League football next season for Pardrew's side.

Stoke (H) - Win
Wigan (A) - Win
Chelsea (A) - Draw
Man City (H) - Win
Everton  (A) - Loss

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