With the end of the Premier League’s season hurtling towards us at a startling rate, the race is beginning to heat up. Understandably, most eyes are on the scramble for places at both the top and bottom of the league.
There is, however, another race starting to take shape. The one to finish in seventh place and be crowned the ‘best of the rest’. Amie Wilson takes us through the mid table race for seventh place as we near the end of the season.
The League’s traditional ‘big six’ have opened up a thirteen point gap between themselves and the rest of the league, meaning that a seventh place finish will realistically be the best that mid table teams can hope for at the end of the season.
Five teams are vying for that place; Wolves, Watford, Leicester City, Everton, and West Ham United are all within five points of each other, with Wolves currently in the driving seat. AFC Bournemouth could also gatecrash the party although their recent indifferent form may make that unlikely.
This weekend sees two of the five face each other in the FA Cup Semi-final. While Wolves and Watford will be battling it out for a place in the final, it gives the other three hopefuls a chance to get points on the board.
A win of two or more goals for Leicester against already relegated Huddersfield Town will take the Foxes into seventh place and above both Watford and Wolves Although the two teams will have a game in hand over their rivals.
While being crowned the best of the rest would be something that clubs would aim for, there is another reason that seventh place is a sought after one and that is European football. As was the case with Burnley last season. Manchester City have already secured the League Cup and if they go onto win the FA Cup too, it means that the seventh placed team will get a place in the Europa League. Should they reach the final, City may find themselves with a few extra fans.
With the points gap between the challenging teams being so close, it is possible that the race will go onto the final day of the season.
Fixtures include; Wolves traveling to title challengers Liverpool, Everton against Tottenham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Leicester City hosting Chelsea, and Watford against West Ham.
Results in all of these games may have an effect on both the top and middle of the table, but if one thing is for sure; there is never a dull moment in the Premier League.
Follow Amie on Twitter @AWils1884