The race for fourth-third-second?

First things first, I AM NOT PREDICTING WE WILL FINISH SECOND! Now that the accusations of jinxing the season are covered, on to the post.

This weekends results have strengthened our grip on a top 4 finish, and have also pulled another factor into the mix. Manchester City are now basically screwed for the title, and have to concern themselves rather more with looking over their shoulders at ourselves, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The reason I say our chances have improved, is because we are in possession of the spot already, and the more games pass by, the less likely it is for Arsenal to make up the difference. Also, there is the not insignificant matter of the relative fixture lists for the clubs involved. A lot has been made of our run where we play Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and City in the next two months, but the fact is that we play three of those games at home. When there is very little to choose between the sides competing for these places, then home advantage could become crucial. Be that as it may, it's actually the fixture lists of our rivals that fill me with confidence.

Everton go to Old Trafford tomorrow, then they still have to go to Arsenal, Liverpool and ourselves. Not an encouraging run of games if you want nailed-on points. Basically they have had the easy part of their season already. Oh, and their final game is at Chelsea.

Arsenal actually have a pretty decent final dozen games, aside from the North London derby. They do have to play United, but otherwise their only problem is their tendency to sleep through a game every 4 weeks or so. The key to us finishing ahead pretty much depends on the result of the derby. Win and we are in.

Chelsea...well, in theory of course they should walk into the top 4, but we've seen what's been going on over there. They have to play City (in their next game), ourselves, and go to Liverpool in a match that bleeds narrative. Taking a point at least home from the Bridge when we go there puts us in a great position.

Manchester City, who by rights should be running away from the pack, are being dragged back towards it. You would look at them on paper and say that second is still comfortably going to be theirs, but...they have to come to WHL, and also the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford. Throw in a visit to Everton and they have plenty of points-dropping opportunities.

This does all become moot if Spurs get a couple of bad results, in particular in the head to head games, but my point is this: We have our own destiny firmly in our hands, and if we get the results that this team is capable of, we finish second. Also, all of our rivals have to play Manchester United. All of them. No way are they all coming away with maximum points there. Throw in the points they will drop to each other, and the picture looks a lot rosier.

Audere Est Facere. Dare to Dream.

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