Coming in to today’s matches, only four points separated Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United in the race for a spot in next year’s Champions League. With Tottenham losing yet another game, it looks like we will have a four-team fight for third and fourth place.
Chelsea played eighth placed Wolverhampton today with a chance to overtake Arsenal and United. Unfortunately for the blues, they needed saving yet again from Eden Hazard. The Belgian superstar scored an equalizing goal in the 92 minute to salvage a point for the London side. Hazard is having the best season of his career so far with 13 goals and 11 assists so far in the Premier League.
These dropped points would prove to be costly as we saw Manchester United travel to the Emirates to play Arsenal. In what was an even match that saw both sides create multiple chances, the gunners came out with a 2-0 win that moved them in to fourth place, ahead of United.
Referee John Moss was under scrutiny the entire match for his decisions. He and his team looked to be very inconsistent and not confident while making calls. A controversial decision came in the second half when Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette was fouled by United midfielder Fred in the box. Lacazette fell the second he felt contact from behind and was awarded a penalty kick. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped up and converted the penalty to secure a huge 2-0 victory.
With Eight weeks left to play, Chelsea need to desperately sort out any defensive problems they are having. Fortunately for them, they have a game in hand on every team above them. The blues still must play Liverpool at Anfield, which is no easy task, and United at Old Trafford. These could be the two matches that decide the top four race come May.
With Chelsea out of all other competitions other than the Europa League, they can focus more on the league. This of course is compared to United, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham who are all still in the hunt for a Champions League title. Once we get to the quarter-finals, we will start to see teams resting their players for multiple games throughout the week. This can cause teams many problems, especially injuries, at the worst time.
Although we don’t know who is going to win which competition and what place everyone will finish in, we do know that we are in for a competitive and entertaining last two month of football.