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The Final Push for Top Four


Maksimov

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Ok, so the FA Cup campaign is over, but the fight for a top four finish still rages on.

 

At the moment the top of the table (according to the Beeb website) looks like this:

 

32.....MAN. UNITED.....+40 / 80 pts.

31.....MAN. CITY..........+30 / 65 pts.

32.....ARSENAL............+29 / 59 pts.

31.....CHELSEA............+28 / 58 pts.

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32.....TOTTENHAM......+15 / 58 pts.

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32.....EVERTON............+14 / 55 pts.

 

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The fixture list for the rest of the season looks like this:

 

1704 PL (A) Fulham

2104 PL (A) Liverpool

2504 EL (A) Basel

2704 PL (H) Swansea

0205 EL (H) Basel

0505 PL (A) Man. United

1105 PL (A) Aston Villa

1905 PL (H) Everton

 

(For some reason I couldn't find the date for our postponed match against Spurs)

 

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We have just three home league matches left to play. One of them is against one of our main rivals Spurs and one of them is against Everton who are still in the fight for a top four finish. I've got a bad feeling about the Liverpool match, especially as it's The Interim One's return to Anfield and Liverpool are fighting to qualify for European football for next season. ManU should have the title well wrapped up by the time we meet them, but I'm sure Fergie wants to beat our record for most points in a Premier League season, so they'll be coming at us full blast. Aston Villa are very much in the relegation fight and are desperate to get their revenge after the 8-0 humiliation. Swansea are safe from relegation and they've already got European football for next season, so that could be considered our easy home fixture, but you never know about us this season.

 

It's too tight at the top to look very far into the future, so it's better to take it one fixture at a time.

 

Next stop is Fulham away. Should we win that match, we'd be three precious points ahead of Spurs, with a much better goal difference, which could be considered being worth an extra point. It wouldn't be the most comfortable of cushions, but it would put the pressure back on Spurs, who are up against Manchester City (at home) in their next fixture. By the the time we play Fulham, Arsenal will have played two matches more than us but could be four points ahead of us. Arsenal play Everton at home, so advantage is theirs, but should Everton get even a draw from the match, we could overtake Arsenal on Wednesday with a win over Fulham.

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Not the most forgiving league fixtures left are they?

 

I would hope we beat Fulham on Wednesday. 

 

The Liverpool game with the "Rafa Factor" I don't even want to think about yet. 

 

Swansea, I expect a win.

 

Man United away, I'll take a draw.

 

Villa away, bit of a bogey team for us but given their form this year I would think we can win that one. 

 

Spurs and Everton, I think I would settle for 4 points from those games. 

 

So apparently I am hoping for around 15 points from the remaining fixtures giving us 73 points which I think should secure us top 4. 

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Fulham is the one for me. Get the three points and set ourselves up for the final push.

 

Liverpool I admit is dodgy.

 

Swansea, if we don't win that one, we don't deserve a Champions League place.

 

United, anything can happen. Don't forget we've beaten them twice this season.

 

Villa are poor. Last season we were electric up there.

 

We beat Tottenham at their place already, so even a draw might not be that bad.

 

Everton can do a lot of damage to all the teams chasing the top four.

 

If we're up for it, no problem.

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What you have to remember we are Chelsea and we dont make anything simple.

No we don't. If all our remaining games are winnable, by the same token they're all loseable.

 

We've already failed to beat Fulham at home.

Liverpool have been a bit of a bogey team in recent years, usually managing to raise their game especially for us. We should beat Swansea at the Bridge, but as ever there are no guarantees.

Man U away... can we beat Man U for a third time in one season? Will they be less up for it if they've already won the title? Unlikely with Ferguson in charge.

Villa have picked up recently, if they're still involved in the relegation battle, we could have a real fight on our hands.

Everton could conceivably still have a European place to fight for, but so could we. And if Champions League qualification should hinge on the last game of the season, then we need to be up for it, simple as that. We could also do with a little good fortune injury wise, and so on.

 

No predictions, but barring a catastophe, I'm expecting it to go down to the wire.

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Of course it's a big "IF" but we're certainly capable and I'm looking forward to it.

The ups and downs are amazing at Chelsea.

 

Haven't been confident since Mourinho. We just didn't lose that many games.

Benitez can do himself a favour and finish strongly to look good on his next job application.

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Liverpool have had two 0-0s in a row. Of course they're going to be hyped up for a Chelsea game, but we're a better team than Liverpool. Suarez doesn't usually cause us many problems. Sturridge should be pretty easy to contain. The real danger would be Coutinho. 

 

United are poor at the moment. They should have the title in the bag by then, so I reckon they will be complacent or Fergie will put out a younger team. 

 

Everton at home could be a replay of the Chelsea v Liverpool game in 2003. 

 

I'm honestly looking forward to it. I reckon we will just snatch top four (and get knocked out in the pre-qualifiers).

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The top four place is gone,watch this space.Some people here  are taking some funny stuff.Face the facts,Fulham away is a difficult match at best of times,let alone in out current form.Loss or draw at best.Liverpool away,we dont  have a good record at Anfield either.They havent scored for 2 games and the law of averages says that they will score at least 2 past us.Manure away ,you can  guarantee that the fuc@ing ref will give them at least 1 pen and an offside goal.Villa away ,another dodgy ground for us.We won last year but before that very dodgy.Everton at home another  hard game,look at the records ,a lot of draws.That leaves Swansea(which I detest after the ballboy affair),Wigan and the Spurz..I doesnt look good,but hopefully a year out of CL will lead to a clearout at the board level,all of them hopefully.

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Without looking at the league table, one would think Spurs has a very easy fixture list apart from us and City, but all the other teams are still in relegation battle (some deeper in it than others) and definitely will be giving them a proper fight.

 

Their fixture list looks like this (from the Sky Sports site):

 

2104 (H) Manchester City

2704 (A) Wigan

0405 (H) Southampton

1205 (A) Stoke

1905 (H) Sunderland

 

City could do us a favour by taking points from them and on current form, they should be able to do that. As for the others, a lot will depend on whether the clubs in question still have something to fight for when they meet Spurs. Hopefully all of them do, so they'll give Spurs a proper fight.

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Sir,I will quote you on that  on the 19th of May.

 

You do that, if it makes you feel better that day, but I will also reserve the right to heckle you if we do finish in the top four.

 

At least I can look back and say I didn't give up, if we don't get the top four finish.

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I've just done the predictor thingy on the BBC website.  Just rattled through it and put down reasonable-sounding scores for all the remaining games, without thinking much and without wishful thinking (i.e no 10-0 or anything).  And at the end it came out, Arsenal third, Us fourth, Spurs fifth - all on 70 points.  BUT then I realised we and Spuds had only played 37 - the BBC hadn't included the rearranged match.  So if we drew that, we'd both be above Arsenal, if someone won they would be third and the losers fourth.  I know it means nothing but as General says "fingers crossed".

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I think we have to remember that the two teams we're battling against are Arse and Spuds, the two biggest chokers in the league.

I fully expect at least one of them to drop an unexpectedly large amount of points, possibly spuds who are without Bale for a few more weeks, and for us to capitalize and finish 4th.

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Without looking at the league table, one would think Spurs has a very easy fixture list apart from us and City, but all the other teams are still in relegation battle (some deeper in it than others) and definitely will be giving them a proper fight.

Their fixture list looks like this (from the Sky Sports site):

2104 (H) Manchester City

2704 (A) Wigan

0405 (H) Southampton

1205 (A) Stoke

1905 (H) Sunderland

City could do us a favour by taking points from them and on current form, they should be able to do that. As for the others, a lot will depend on whether the clubs in question still have something to fight for when they meet Spurs. Hopefully all of them do, so they'll give Spurs a proper fight.

I'm confident that Spurs can beat Southampton and Stoke but the City match will be v tough and the Wigan and Sunderland games are hard to call (together with us vs Chelsea). A better side than Newcastle would have punished Sunderland on Sunday but they are more of a challenge under di Canio. Fourth place would be good but mainly I want us to finish ahead of Arsenal. Will be happy with that as not sure we yet have a squad of the size/quality where pressures of Cl (money aside) won't sod up our league perfotmance.

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I think we have to remember that the two teams we're battling against are Arse and Spuds, the two biggest chokers in the league.

I fully expect at least one of them to drop an unexpectedly large amount of points, possibly spuds who are without Bale for a few more weeks, and for us to capitalize and finish 4th.

 

Bale could well be back this weekend. But whether he will be "back" yet, that's another issue altogether.

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