4 teams that have tilted the Premier League Top-4 race
Background photo: Nicholas Babaian, CC BY-SA 2.0
The race to finish in the Premier League top four is as intriguing as ever. This year, it'll go right down to the wire with it all still to play for despite just two game weeks remaining. Per usual, the games between the top six have often proven crucial into determining the final order, but this year, the teams sitting in the pack just behind the big-boys have had arguably an even bigger say. Not only have the following four teams tilted the Champions League places, but they've also played their part in the title race, too...
The Foxes started the season under Claude Puel with defeat against Manchester United, but as the season has progressed, Leicester City has grown in confidence and performance levels. Despite losing Riyad Mahrez over the summer, Brendan Rodgers' squad has shown the underlying quality that earned the Midlands club a Premier League title just a few years ago.
Grinding out an unexpected 1-0 victory against Chelsea was a huge positive in their season. It could come back to haunt the Londoners, although their draw at Old Trafford this weekend has placed them in pole position in the chase for the final Champions League spot. Leicester's most impressive victory this season may well have put an end to Arsenal's top four aspirations. A convincing 3-0 victory at the King Power Stadium had Foxes fans in dreamland, for Unai Emery, it could have been a disastrous end to an awful year.
For the Premier League's elite, Everton has always been a tricky task - particularly at Goodison Park. The Toffees themselves have been a real mixed bag this term, but you cannot deny their underlying quality with top players like Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson within their ranks. The goalless draw against Chelsea was the only point picked up when facing the top six in the first half of the season. However, in the new year, Everton has managed to pick up victories against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United; blitzing the latter 4-0 just a week or so ago...
On the final day of the season, Everton will head to White Hart Lane in the hopes of landing another sucker punch to a Champions League-chasing side.
Right from the get-go, Wolverhampton Wanderers have been an absolute menace to the top Premier League sides. The Midlands club have been phenomenal all year long, thoroughly enjoying their first Premier League campaign in over a decade. Nuno Espirito Santo has built a squad stacked with quality, positioning themselves perfectly to be the best of the rest, and potentially even breaking into the top six next year.
Wolves have picked up points against all the teams above them in the table except Liverpool - whom they play on the final day of the season, which could eventually decide the destination of the 2018/19 Premier League title. Things kicked off with a hard-fought draw against Manchester City, before following that up with 3-1 victories over both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, while toppling Chelsea and Manchester United by 2-1 scorelines. No team outside the top six has picked up more points from the top six than Wolves this season. They'll be hoping to finish in seventh, giving themselves a chance at Europa League qualification for next term.
Manuel Pellegrini's side have gone about their business under the radar this year. The Hammers made some quality signings over the summer which has no doubt helped them in the pressure moments against the best-of-the-best. West Ham upset Chelsea with a draw in the season's earlygoings. Since, they've picked up stunning wins against their London rivals, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Perhaps their season highpoint was an excellent 3-1 victory against Manchester United. It was a game they dominated throughout, with Felipe Anderson stealing the show. Despite what has been an underwhelming season on the whole, West Ham have had their moments and they're well placed to build upon this going into the next campaign.