Recent results have suggested that Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are not too bothered about playing in the Champions League next season but they all have the opportunity to get back on track on Sunday.
Chelsea currently occupy fourth spot in the Premier League but they have hardly been in great form recently, losing five of their last 13 matches.
The Gunners have been beaten in three of their last four encounters while United have contrived to lose four of their last six Premier League games, as well as being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona.
United have 13 points fewer than after 35 games of last season while the Blues are actually one point better off than last term and the Gunners nine points to the good.
However, all three teams have been nowhere near as consistent as Manchester City and Liverpool and there seems to be little prospect of any of them challenging for the title in the near future.
The last few days have shown how far all three teams have to go before they can realistically be considered as potential title contenders with Chelsea being held to a draw at Stamford Bridge by Burnley, Wolves outclassing the Gunners and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s out-of-sorts outfit failing to live with Manchester City.
And yet at least one of these three sides will be playing in the Champions League in 2019/20 while both Chelsea and Arsenal could still win this season’s Europa League.
A week ago Unai Emery‘s team appeared to be in pole position to finish in the top four after they had put together a run of six wins in eight matches while they appeared to have a relatively easy run-in.
However, their performances against both Crystal Palace and Wolves have been so dire that they are in danger of missing out on a top-four spot for the third campaign in a row.
Arsenal did come from behind to beat Leicester 3-1 at home in October but Emery’s team have been poor on their travels all season and the Foxes have been vibrant since Brendan Rodgers replaced Claude Puel in February, winning five of their last eight top-flight encounters.
Leicester have already won three home games this season 2-0 and that could be the result again on Sunday with Harvey Barnes good value at 12/1 to score the first goal.
Manchester United were Premier League champions four times and Chelsea on three occasions between 2005 and 2011 but both clubs have been shadows of their former selves this term.
There is a major squad rebuilding job at Old Trafford to undertake this summer while Chelsea look set to lose Eden Hazard. Doubts also remain as to whether Roman Abramovich will sell the Blues who may be unable to buy any new players in the close season because of their potential transfer embargo.
Sunday’s match will be played under such uncertainty with United in particular also struggling badly on the pitch – they have not scored a goal in open play in all competitions for 527 minutes.
David de Gea has been error-prone recently and the Spanish goalkeeper was at fault for at least one of City’s goals in Wednesday’s Manchester derby. United have failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 matches in all competitions so it may be worth looking at odds of 51/20 for Solskjaer’s team to end that sorry run on Sunday.
United have conceded 22 goals in their 17 home league matches this season, more than Crystal Palace and Leicester City, while Chelsea have lost seven away games this term.
In October at Stamford Bridge, Anthony Martial scored twice for United who eventually had to settle for a point as Ross Barkley made it 2-2 with a last-minute equaliser for Maurizio Sarri’s team. Martial has been poor recently but is 11/2 to score the first goal on Sunday in a match which could well finish as a draw, available at 12/5.
Liverpool fans will be hoping Burnley can stun Manchester City at Turf Moor but it looks set to be wishful thinking as Pep Guardiola’s team have shown no sign of weakness in the last few weeks.
City have bounced back well from their Champions League exit at the hands of Tottenham earlier this month and can focus on retaining their Premier League title in the last three weekends of the season while Jurgen Klopp’s team have to juggle domestic games alongside two tests against Barcelona.
Guardiola’s team have beaten Spurs and Manchester United in the last week to extend their winning sequence in the top-flight to 11 matches since they lost 2-1 to Newcastle in January.
It now seems inconceivable that the loss at St James’ Park was City’s fourth defeat in nine league games in December and January but they have certainly kept their focus as the days have got longer in the last three months.
City have scored an incredible 157 goals in all competitions this season, with 89 coming in the Premier League, and six players have reached double figures – Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez.
Bernardo Silva (7/1) is probably the best bet to score the first goal against the Clarets, who have enjoyed a fine run since their Boxing Day humbling by Everton, the 5-1 home defeat leaving Sean Dyche’s outfit in the relegation zone with just 12 points from 19 matches.
Burnley have won eight and drawn four of their 16 games since then and will be starting the 2019/20 campaign in the Premier League again.
Dyche’s side, who lost 5-0 at City earlier in the season, have 13 points fewer than they had managed at this stage of last term. That would appear to be down to their defence as, although they have scored nine more goals than after 35 games of last season, they have conceded on no fewer than 30 more occasions.
It may not be 5-0 at Turf Moor on Sunday but another comfortable win for City would appear to be on the cards.
For all new customers, ComeOn are currently offering a £10 free bet – make sure you sign up!