Has the battle for the Champions League places ever been more hotly contested?

With Liverpool and Manchester City well clear at the top of the table, it leaves two spots up for grabs with four teams separated by just three points.

Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and the Gunners are locked in a nip-tuck fight for the lucrative European places. It means tens of millions of pounds, and club development hinges on these clubs making it.

It can make the difference between a club progressing in stature and keeping up with the top teams, and being left behind as others enjoy more pulling power in attracting top talent.

What teams have the edge?

Tottenham

Our rivals have long held onto their place in the top4, but recent weeks have seen them on the slide, with their win over Palace recently being their first in five. It has allowed us, Chelsea and United to claw back a sizeable buffer that spurs enjoyed.

Their next fixture is versus City in the Champions League Quarter-Finals, and it is the first of three games against the title-chasers in April, sandwiching a match against Huddersfield that will no doubt see many of their fringe players given the task of earning the win.

Their other fixtures are against West Ham, Brighton, Bournemouth and Everton, with only the match against the Cherries coming away from home.

With the club settling into their new home though, this can make home fixtures less of a banker than previous. An eye on the Champions League could also cost them.

Estimated points won from remaining fixtures – 13                      Total points – 77


Chelsea

A recent switch in personnel in their eleven saw the Blues enjoy some of their better football. Maurizio Sarri was being ridiculed for using an identikit eleven in recent months, but a change saw them shove aside Brighton easily.

Still, an over-reliance on Eden Hazard could still cost them. They have shown a lack of consistency too, so predicting their results is far from easy. They also have some big games yet to play.

Still left is West Ham, Liverpool, United, Burnley, Watford and Leicester. With trips to Anfield and Old Trafford to come, and the unpredictability of Leicester a real factor, Chelsea may need to focus on the Europa League to gain entry back into the Champions League.

Estimated points won from remaining fixtures – 11                      Total points – 74


United

The initial honeymoon period is over for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it was enough to haul them into top four contention.

The squad in place will be the last before a major overhaul in the summer, and many know they are in the shop window, so they will have to play for their futures.

Games against West Ham, Everton, City, Chelsea, Huddersfield and Cardiff remain for the Red Devils, but their season will be defined on how they perform in the three game series against the Toffees, Chelsea and City. Avoid defeat in more than one and it could prove pivotal.

Estimated points won from remaining games – 13                                       Total points – 74


Arsenal

What a rollercoaster. The Gunners looked well out of it, but a run of ten successive home wins has seen us squeeze into the top four, and we have played all of our fellow top 6 rivals already.

That means an easier run in, no? Well, no.

Our away form is the real cause for concern, and five of our remaining seven games come away from The Emirates.

With our Europa League campaign at a crucial stage and against a tough opponent, this really could go either way.

It is in our hands, and at the start of the season, that was more than the majority of us could have envisioned.

Remaining games:

Everton (a) – 2-2 – 1 point

Watford (a) – 1-1 – 1 point

Palace (h) – 3-1 – 3 points

Wolves (a) – 1-0 – 0 points

Leicester (a) – 1-2 – 3 points

Brighton (h) – 2-0 – 3 points

Burnley (a) – 0-2 – 3 points

Total points – 14 points

Points at end of season – 77 points


To surmise, that leaves us and Tottenham on 77 points, and United and Chelsea on 74 points.

Obviously, this all hinges on my predictions, but hopefully it highlights how very tight this will be, and could well see the two spots still undecided, which would make for a REAL Super Sunday.

Let the battle commence!