Chelsea has clinched a top-four berth in England, while Tottenham has all but done the same, with Arsenal and Man United set to miss out after another set of poor results.

By Luis Miguel Echegaray
May 04, 2019

The weekend was full of surprises in the top-four race of attrition in England, as Man United's draw at last-place Huddersfield Town and Arsenal's home draw vs. 17th-place Brighton on Sunday effectively removed both teams from contention for Champions League berths next season–at least via the league route. Man United cannot mathematically get into the top four, and while Arsenal still can, it would require a colossal change in goal differential to earn its way.

With the two powers slipping up, Chelsea has clinched a Champions League berth for next season, while Tottenham has all but crossed the finish line to do so as well. Given its superior +8 goal difference to its North London rival, Mauricio Pochettino's side has all but confirmed the final spot–despite losing to Bournemouth after finishing with nine men on Saturday.

Unai Emery's squad, meanwhile, will most likely have to win the Europa League in order to attain a Champions League berth. It's currently in position to reach the final after a 3-1 win over Valencia in the first leg last Thursday.

The greater disappointment is in Manchester, where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad continued its late-season capitulation after looking so promising under the Norwegian's guidance. Despite all of the recent results, the door remained open for Man United following Tottenham's loss, but the Red Devils failed to grab a win against a Huddersfield side that had lost eight straight games, most recently a 5-0 loss to Liverpool.

Tottenham, sitting now in fourth place with 70 points, is now one behind Chelsea and three ahead of Arsenal, but thanks to their goal-differential edge, Spurs can confirm a Champions League place by just matching or bettering Arsenal's result next weekend–or by simply avoiding a heavy defeat combined with an Arsenal rout.

As for Chelsea, the one side to take care of business, Maurizio Sarri's club bested Watford 3-0, with the Hornets perhaps more focused on an upcoming trip to Wembley and the FA Cup final vs. Man City later this month. Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain secured the win and the decisive three points and also removed any pressure on Chelsea to have to win the Europa League to reach next season's Champions League.

That instead falls on Arsenal, which looked good for the victory, especially since it was facing a Brighton team that had less to play for after securing survival following Cardiff City's loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday. But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's first-half penalty was not enough as Glenn Murray scored one of his own after Granit Xhaka fouled the striker in the box.

What appeared to be a top-four race that would go down to the final day has effectively been ended a week early, and it's Chelsea and Tottenham that win out, while Man United and Arsenal are both left to rue being winless in their last four games with everything there for the taking.

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