Finishing in the top four would have been the aim for many clubs at the start of the season, but because of Chelsea’s European exploits, it may now take a top-three finish to play in the Champions League in the next campaign.
If Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on May 19th, they will be England’s fourth Champions League representative next season, meaning only three spaces will be available through the Premier League.
At first it was Tottenham who looked to have third spot sewn up, but then seven successive league wins through February and March put Arsenal in pole position to fill this position.
However, with two games to go there is just a single point separating three clubs in the race for third.
The run-in certainly seemed to leave Newcastle with a mountain to climb to reach the peak of the top three, with Chelsea and Manchester City among their final opponents.
However, they are one checkpoint down after victory at Stamford Bridge, which in turn has almost certainly ended Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through their domestic achievements.
Even though they still have Manchester City to play, Newcastle look a big price at 9/1 to finish third as they are unbeaten against the current top four at home this season and ran riot in beating Manchester United 3-0 at the Sports Direct Arena.
Arsenal are 4/9 to take third and are in the beneficial position of knowing that their final position is in their own hands, with victories in their final two fixtures guaranteeing them third.
On paper, they will be fancied to beat Norwich at home and West Brom away, but they have failed to beat Wolves and Wigan at the Emirates this season and they have only claimed maximum points on one of their past three Premier League visits to West Brom.
Like Newcastle, Tottenham have a point to make up on Arsenal and are 21/10 to claim third, but they have won just three of their last 11 Premier League encounters.