Where Does the English Premier League Stand?
The English Premier League restarted their season a couple weeks ago and now has four matchdays left in the season.
While there isn't any drama left in the title race, there is still plenty left to solve in the race for spots in Europe, as well as in the relegation battle. Even though all the action is still being held without fans in attendance, the return of the Premier League has been welcomed in a world that has been starved for sports over the last three months.
Cream of the Crop
With last Thursday's win by Chelsea over Manchester City, Liverpool clinched their first Premier League title. Jurgen Klopp's squad has been far-and-away the best team in the league this year, winning all but four of their 34 matches. All that is really left for the Reds is to see if Mohamed Salah can win the Golden Boot for the third year in a row. Currently, Salah sits three goals behind Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, who has 22 goals this season.
The Race for Europe
Even though Manchester City sits in second place, their future is far from decided. Earlier this year, Manchester City had sanctions levied against them because of the violation of Financial Fair Play rules. If the original punishment by UEFA is upheld, it could make the jockeying for Champions League spots even more interesting, while Manchester City will likely see their talented squad dismantled after the season. The fate of Manchester City will be decided by UEFA in July.
Chelsea winger Christian PulisicGetty Images
Chelsea has benefited from the lengthy stoppage, because it allowed Christian Pulisic to return to action. The American suffered an adductor injury on January 1 and was just returning to training when the season was paused in March. Pulisic has scored three goals in six matches since the restart for the Blues. Along with Pulisic, Chelsea has also benefited from the return of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who suffered an achilles injury last season.
Leicester City has stumbled out of the gates of the restart, winning just one of their five matches since play was resumed. After holding a five-point edge on Chelsea for third place, the Foxes now sit a point behind the Blues and are just one point ahead of Manchester United. Leicester City faces a tough close to the season, squaring off with Sheffield United and Tottenham before hosting Manchester United in the season finale.
Manchester United midfielder Bruno FernandesReuters
Currently on the outside looking in for a Champions League spot is Manchester United. The Red Devils have found their stride recently, winning each of their last three matches by three goals. By the time Manchester United and Leicester City meet in the final match of the season, United could have leapfrogged the Foxes, as Manchester United's next three matches are against teams currently in the bottom of the table.
Wolverhampton looked like they were going to be in a battle with Manchester United until the end of the season for a Champions League spot, but Wolves have dropped their last two matches. Despite the recent slump, Wolves still have plenty to play for, as they are looking to secure a spot in the Europa League for the second year in a row. Raul Jimenez has scored 15 goals this season, forming a lethal partnership with Adama Traroe, who has nine assists this season.
The disappointments of the year in the Premier League has been Tottenham and Arsenal, with both teams having made managerial changes this season. Spurs could salvage their season now that Harry Kane has returned from injury, which could set the tone for Jose Mourinho's second season in charge. Spurs could still move up to sixth in the table, but it has to be a disappointment for the potent combination at forward of Kane and Heung-Min Son.
Arsenal really stumbled out of the gates at the restart, losing to Manchester City and Brighton before earning a much-needed victory over Southampton. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 17 goals this year but has been kept off the scoresheet in Arsenal's last four matches. Arsenal is now on the verge of missing the Champions League for a fourth consecutive season.
The Fight for Survival
The action at the bottom of the table in the Premier League is just as hot as the race for spots in Europe. Currently Bournemouth, Aston Villa, and Norwich City occupy the relegation zone, which will see the bottom three teams in the league sent down to the Championship. While it's not set in stone yet, it's hard to see the Canaries finding safety, as they have only managed 21 points in 31 matches.
Aston Villa, Bournemouth, and West Ham all sit at 27 points, but the Hammers are currently safe because they have a better goal differential. Watford currently has 28 points on the season, leaving them dangerously close to slipping into the relegation zone. The restart hasn't been kind to any of these four teams, as they have amassed a combined five points in the nine games they've played.
The relegation battle could very well come down to the last couple weeks of the season. West Ham will have a couple of very important matches to stay in the top level of English soccer. The Hammers take on Watford on July 15 before closing out the season against Aston Villa on July 26. The tilt between West Ham and Aston Villa could see the result deciding where the two squads will be spending next season.
70 matches are still left to be played, and every match should be visible to those in the United States on NBCSN thanks to staggered start times. If all goes according to plan, the Premier League should wrap up their season on July 26.