English Premier League

Top 4 Finish: Tottenham favourites to oust Aston Villa and Man United

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou
Big Ange's Tottenham are favourites to finish in the top four

With just a quarter of the Premier League season remaining it looks like the race to finish in the top four is a direct fight between three clubs. Mike Norman analyses what's left to play for...

  • Spurs odds-on to finish in the top four

  • United statistically have the easiest run-in

  • Fixtures and analysis for all three clubs


As we head into the final international break of the season we look set for a fantastic battle between Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester United for the final top four position in the Premier League, and automatic qualification to next season's Champions League.

Following Villa's 1-1 draw at West Ham on Sunday Unai Emery's men remain fourth in the table, just three points ahead of Spurs having played a game more.

It's a further six points back to United who also have a game in hand on Villa, though as I detail further down this page, the Red Devils have what looks a far more comfortable run-in than the two clubs immediately above them.

# TEAM P W D L GF GA PTS xGF xGA xGD EXP FCST
1 Man City 38 28 7 3 96 34 91 0 0 0
2 Arsenal 38 28 5 5 91 29 89 0 0 0
3 Liverpool 38 24 10 4 86 41 82 0 0 0
4 Aston Villa 38 20 8 10 76 61 68 0 0 0
5 Tottenham 38 20 6 12 74 61 66 0 0 0
6 Chelsea 38 18 9 11 77 63 63 0 0 0
7 Newcastle 38 18 6 14 85 62 60 0 0 0
8 Man Utd 38 18 6 14 57 58 60 0 0 0
9 West Ham 38 14 10 14 60 74 52 0 0 0
10 Crystal Palace 38 13 10 15 57 58 49 0 0 0
11 Brighton 38 12 12 14 55 62 48 0 0 0
12 Bournemouth 38 13 9 16 54 67 48 0 0 0
13 Fulham 38 13 8 17 55 61 47 0 0 0
14 Wolves 38 13 7 18 50 65 46 0 0 0
15 Everton 38 13 9 16 40 51 40 0 0 0
16 Brentford 38 10 9 19 56 65 39 0 0 0
17 Nottm Forest 38 9 9 20 49 67 32 0 0 0
18 Luton 38 6 8 24 52 85 26 0 0 0
19 Burnley 38 5 9 24 41 78 24 0 0 0
20 Sheff Utd 38 3 7 28 35 104 16 0 0 0
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But despite Villa being three points ahead of Spurs it's the latter who are the 4/61.67 favourites on the Betfair Sportsbook to record a Top 4 Finish, with Villa available at 6/52.20.

The Lilywhites statistically - based on league positions of opposition teams still to play - have a slightly easier run-in than Villa so their 4/61.67 quote is justified, though the 9/110.00 about United finishing in the top four is slightly tempting given their own run in.

Fifth position likely to qualify for revamped Champions League

Whichever club finishes fifth in the Premier League table at the end of the current campaign is extremely likely to have the consolation of also qualifying for next season's Champions League.

That's because a revamped format of Europe's elite club competition means an extra place will be awarded to the two leagues whose clubs perform best across all three of this season's UEFA club competitions.

The Premier League currently sits third behind Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga, but with five clubs remaining in three competitions England is almost certain to move ahead of Italy who have just three clubs remaining, none of which are in the Champions League.


Aston Villa - 6/52.20

- 56 pts, 9 games remaining

Although currently holding the advantage in the race to finish fourth, it's easy to understand why Aston Villa aren't the favourites to record a Top 4 Finish.

That's because 'on paper' Emery's men look to have the toughest set of fixtures from now until the end of the season.

The average league position of the nine clubs they have to play is 8th-9th and their next two away games are at title-chasers Manchester City and Arsenal. They also have to travel to Brighton who are chasing a European slot of their own, and following that game Villa host Liverpool.

A trio of home games against Wolves, Brentford and Bournemouth are very winnable, and they could welcome a Chelsea team with absolutely nothing to play for in their penultimate home game of the season.

Being ahead of the pack at this stage is a great position to be in of course, but you sense that Villa are going to have to recapture their tremendous home form from earlier in the season to hold on to fourth given how difficult their next three away games look.

Remaining Fixtures:

*home games in bold (number in brackets = current league position)

MD 30: Wolves (9)
MD 31: Man City (3)
MD 32: Brentford (15)
MD 33: Arsenal (1)
MD 34: Bournemouth (13)
MD 35: Chelsea (11)
MD 36: Brighton (8)
MD 37: Liverpool (2)
MD 38: Crysyal Palace (14)

- Average league position of teams to play: 8th-9th
- Games against bottom six teams: 1


Tottenham - 4/61.67

- 53 pts, 10 games remaining

Like Villa, Spurs also have to play the top three in the league before the season ends, though two of those are at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, including the North London Derby. They also have an excellent record against Pep Guardiola's Man City.

Ange Postecoglou's men have some very winnable games against the bottom four clubs in the Premier League, though among their other remaining fixtures two are against mid-table Newcastle and Chelsea, who can be either brilliant, or very poor, on any given day.

The average league position of Tottenham's remaining 10 games is 10th-11th, though their next two home games are against Luton in 18th and Nottm Forest in 17th, providing them with an excellent opportunity to gather some momentum before facing the Premier League's top three.

With Burnley (19th) and Sheffield United (20th) being the final two games of Tottenham's season, they should be extremely confident of collecting six points should that be what's required to clinch the last top four berth.

Remaining Fixtures:

MD 30: Luton (18)
MD 31: West Ham (7)
MD 32: Nottm Forest (17)
MD 33: Newcastle (10)
MD 34: Man City (3)
MD 35: Arsenal (1)
MD 36: Liverpool (2)
MD 37: Burnley (19)
MD 38: Sheff United (20)
TBA: Chelsea (11)

- Average league position of teams to play: 10th-11th
- Games against bottom six teams: 4


Manchester United - 9/110.00

- 47 pts, 10 games remaining

Erik ten Hag's men are the outsiders of the three clubs to finish in the top four but they undoubtedly have the 'easier' set of fixtures to end the season.

Seven of the 10 clubs they have to play between now and the end of the campaign currently sit 10th or lower in the table, and although they have to face Liverpool and Arsenal, both of those games are at Old Trafford.

Up next for United is bang out-of-form Brentford, and they also have to play the bottom two in the table, Burnley and Sheffield United.

The average position of the 10 clubs United still have to play is 11th-12th, which is significantly better than Villa's run in, giving Ten Hag's men an outside chance of climbing into the top four.

Remaining Fixtures:

MD 30: Brentford (15)
MD 31: Chelsea (11)
MD 32: Liverpool (2)
MD 33: Bournemouth (13)
MD 34: Newcastle (10)
MD 35: Burnley (19)
MD 36: Crystal Palace (14)
MD 37: Arsenal (1)
MD 38: Brighton (8)
TBA - Sheff United (20)

- Average league position of teams to play: 11th-12th
- Games against bottom six teams: 3


Now read more Premier League tips and previews here.


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