The finishing line is now on the horizon for Chelsea and their Premier League rivals in the race for the top-four.
After a Premier League season like no other that we have witnessed before, with almost every game being played in front of empty seats, its conclusion is almost upon us.
After being locked in a close battle with London rivals West Ham United in the search for fourth-place in recent weeks, Chelsea leapfrogged Leicester City and into third on Saturday evening following their impressive 2-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Second half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso sealed a third consecutive league win for the Blues, as they recovered from a goal down at half time to make the long trip back down south with all three points in the bag.
Victory at the Etihad opened up a six-point gap on West Ham, who face Everton at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
While Chelsea were able to celebrate their win at City, Liverpool did ensure they kept up the pace, defeating Southampton 2-0 at Anfield later on Saturday evening.
But with just three games standing between the Blues and the finish line, they are in control of their own destiny, with the prospect of even finishing second by no means over just yet.
However, with securing a top-four berth Chelsea’s top priority, football.london has taken a close look at the remaining fixtures for the Blues, Leicester City, West Ham and Liverpool, with all four clubs still in with a strong chance of taking the remaining two top-four spots.
May 12: Arsenal (H)
May 18: Leicester City (H)
May 23: Aston Villa (A)
May 11: Manchester United (A)
May 18: Chelsea (A)
May 23: Tottenham Hotspur (H)
West Ham’s fixtures
May 9: Everton (H)
May 15: Brighton & Hove Albion (A)
May 19: West Bromwich Albion (A)
May 23: Southampton (H)
May 13: Manchester United (A)
May 16: West Bromwich Albion (A)
May 19: Burnley (A)
May 23: Crystal Palace (H)
As you can see from the fixture lists above, at the time of writing, both West Ham and Liverpool have a game in hand on both Chelsea and Leicester, meaning they have the opportunity to gain ground on Chelsea in the coming days.
Overall, you would argue that it is, on paper at least, Leicester who face the most difficult run-in, being forced to lock horns with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, who are still in with an outside chance of finishing in the top four, in their last three matches. Considering the Foxes were beaten 4-2 by Newcastle United on Friday evening, they could be feeling slightly nervous ahead of their remaining outings.
Do you want all the latest news from around Chelsea Football Club straight to your email inbox?
Of course you do.
By signing up for our Chelsea newsletter, you will receive a twice-daily email, focused on all the latest news from Stamford Bridge.
And, not only that, but you will get exclusive content from our club writers Sam Inkersole and Adam Newson before anyone else.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Blues.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
Alternatively, you can click here and tick the Chelsea box to subscribe for our Blues newsletter.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
In truth, you would say that it is West Ham who have the most favourable run of games to come, that’s if there is such thing in the Premier League. Home games with Everton and Southampton will be challenging, but the Hammers will more than fancy their chances of taking six points from six.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have two of their three remaining matches at home, starting with Arsenal on Wednesday evening. Although Arsenal and Leicester will present obstacles, the Blues will not fear anybody right now after overcoming Real Madrid and City in the last few days.
Liverpool, following Thursday’s clash with Manchester United, ought to be targeting three wins from their last three respective fixtures, meaning they could run it close to get into the top four.