English Premier League: The Race for the Champions League

Published on: 13 April 2023

With only eight games remaining for the majority of sides, we are now well and truly into the run-in of the 2022/23 Premier League season, with all of the major questions still to be answered. All of which makes for an exciting conclusion for fans, and punters assessing the very best of the New Betting Offers.

Looking at the summit of the table, the title race is now a straight shootout between vastly improved Arsenal, and the defending champions, Manchester City. Arsenal hold the edge as things stand, sitting six points ahead of City. However, City do still have a game in hand, a superior goal difference, and get to play Arsenal at home on the 24th of April. A nail-biting finale looks imminent.

Down at the bottom, Southampton are beginning to look in serious trouble, but the exact make-up of the relegated sides is anyone’s guess, with only four points between 13th-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest in 18th.

Just as tight as the title race and battle to beat the drop is the competition for a top-four position and qualification for the richly-rewarding Champions League. Arsenal and Manchester City have two places locked up, but the remaining two positions are up for grabs, with the odd one out from Newcastle United, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur set to miss out and be forced to make do with the Europa League. Newcastle and Manchester United are currently in the box seats, locked together on 56 points, three clear of Spurs, who have also played a game more.

Brighton & Hove Albion and/or a resurgent Aston Villa may yet crash the party, but here we take a look at the run-in of the three sides most likely to be dining at Europe’s top table during the 2023/24 campaign.

Newcastle United

Remaining Fixtures:

Aston Villa (away)

Tottenham Hotspur (Home)

Everton (Away)

Southampton (Home)

Arsenal (Home)

Brighton & Hove Albion (Home)

Leeds United (Away)

Leicester City (Home)

Chelsea (Home)

Average League Position of Remaining Opposition: 11.33

Verdict: A 5/4 home/away split is definitely in Newcastle’s favour, with the Magpies having turned St. James’ Park into something of a fortress this season. However, the other fact to leap out from this run-in is that almost every side will likely have something to play for; Everton, Southampton, Leeds United and Leicester City are all firmly embroiled in the relegation battle, and Aston Villa and Brighton still have European aspirations. Of course, the big clash is that matchup with Spurs at home. Win that one, and Newcastle could find themselves six points clear of the North London club with a significantly better goal difference.

Manchester United

Remaining Fixtures:

Nottingham Forest (Away)

Chelsea (Home)

Tottenham Hotspur (Away)

Aston Villa (Home)

Brighton & Hove Albion (Away)

West Ham United (Away)

Wolverhampton Wanderers (Home)

Bournemouth (Away)

Fulham (Home)

Average League Position of Remaining Opposition: 11

Verdict: In terms of the average quality of the opposition, Manchester United’s run-in is very similar to that of Newcastle, but on the downside, five of their nine remaining fixtures are on the road – including a potentially pivotal clash with Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Whilst there are no easy games in the Premier League, United may be at a big motivational advantage against Chelsea, Wolves and Fulham, who may well have little more than mid-table mediocrity to play for. The major potential negative against the Red Devils is the fact that they are still involved in both the FA Cup and Europa League, whereas Newcastle and Spurs can focus solely on the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur

Remaining Fixtures:

Bournemouth (Home)

Newcastle United (Away)

Manchester United (Home)

Liverpool (Away)

Crystal Palace (Home)

Aston Villa (Away)

Brentford (Home)

Leeds United (Away)

Average League Position of Remaining Opposition: 9.13

Verdict: On paper at least, Spurs have the toughest run-in of the three sides. However, there are two ways to look at that. On the one hand, back-to-back fixtures against Newcastle and Manchester United would appear difficult for a side adjusting to the departure of Antonio Conte. But to put a positive spin on it, those games give Spurs two excellent opportunities to simultaneously boost their own claims and deal a significant blow to a major rival. Amongst the other games, Crystal Palace and Brentford may come at a good time, with both sides seemingly destined for a mid-table finish. It certainly won’t be easy, but Spurs aren’t out of it just yet, in what looks set to be a thrilling race to the line.