When Can the Foxes Celebrate?

So, if anybody out there tends to be the same type of person that I am (look up the Wikipedia plot on a movie halfway through the film to see if the film is worth finishing…looking at upcoming episodes of a TV show to see if it gets predictable), then you’re sitting there wondering when Leicester can start celebrating, when will the Champions League spots be finalized, and when the season will be laid to rest (even though we’ll start to miss it mere hours after it’s over). For this post, we’re going to focus on the upper half of the table and how those slots are going to work out. If you’re worried about the relegation battle, we can give you one guarantee: Aston Villa is going down (we’ll give you that one for free).

First, we’ll start with those crazy foxes. Who would believe that we could witness a team finish at completely opposite ends of the spectrum just one season removed? Not only that, but Leicester has gotten the type of luck, bounces, and calls that a Champion gets on their path…they have truly accomplished every single thing that pundits say make a team “worthy champions,” while being an underdog all the while. After Tottenham’s stumble against West Brom, the game is fairly simple for the celebrations to start. If Leicester can win ANY of their remaining three games, they win. If they draw ALL of their remaining games, they win. Tottenham is not mathematically ruled out, but they’re going to need some serious help. In any other season, Leicester’s remaining fixtures would give some reason to pause their pre-order on a Leicester kit with gold BPL patches…but, this season… the Foxes have to go up against Manchester United at Old Trafford, a spiraling Everton (at home), and Chelsea (away) to finish out the season.

For Tottenham, the window to a title also involves Chelsea, but then fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle make it feel like one team certainly has the easier run-in. Still, if Spurs aren’t taking maximum points throughout, then the title will be out of reach. Manchester City and Arsenal cannot reach the pinnacle, but either of them could sneak above Tottenham if Harry Kane and co. start to falter as we shut the season down. If Tottenham draws any of their remaining fixtures, Leicester needs to only draw ANY of their remaining fixtures to win. If Tottenham loses any of their remaining fixtures, Leicester wins.

The Champions League spots actually get a little bit dicey because of club involvement in the Europa League. First, looking simply at the table, Champions League soccer is guaranteed if you reach 72 points (it gets a bit lower if Manchester United drops any points in their last four fixtures). Tottenham is one win away from 72 (69 points), Arsenal and Manchester City are both at 64 points, and United sits at 59 points with a game in hand. Leicester has already clinched CL qualification. Mathematically, Liverpool (55 points) and West Ham (56) points are not out of contention, but it’s a tough road. Liverpool and West Ham each have a game in hand, but the amount of point dropping they’ll need above them is a bit mind blowing. Not to be too negative, but the only decent shot of breaking up the current top-four belongs to Manchester United.

However, Liverpool has an outside chance to get a fifth team from England into the Champions League next season. After some recent reshuffling to the rewards given to the Europa League winners, the team that wins the Europa League now gets direct qualifying into the Champions League. This means that Liverpool could stink up the rest of their domestic campaign and still sneak into Europe’s premier competition. The road is going to be tough for a team seriously hurt by injury and whatever you want to label the Sakho situation as, but it’s not outside the realm of reason. The reds pushed through an intense tie with Manchester United and showed off their new-found confidence against Dortmund, but they’re still leaking goals at the back and are missing key players all across the pitch. The next fixture is against Villareal, and a possible final against Sevilla or Shakhtar Donetsk (don’t forget, Liverpool has struggled mightily against Spanish sides over the last few years…once again, not an easy road), but it would be interesting to see England gaming the system a bit.

We’ll know everything by the middle of May, so only a few more weeks before everything is said and done. Still, if you’ve ever seen a warning that says *Spoiler Alert* and you’ve continued on, then hopefully we’ve tied up some loose ends for you. We can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out, but it’s 100% certain that they’ll be a new Premier League Champion at the end of this race. As somebody that wants the Cubs to win a World Series, the Atlanta Falcons to win a Super Bowl, and other long-suffering franchises win major titles…it’s all about Leicester for me. Who do you think will come out on top?

 

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About the author: Andrew McCole

 

If I may be so bold to condense my immense personality into two words, it would be: soccer nerd. I love everything about the beautiful game and I tend to reflect that in my writing. I suffer through Liverpool fandom and hope that they will win another title before my wife spreads my ashes at Anfield (considering I'm in my twenties, it seems somewhat likely). Although I also dabble in tennis, teaching, and coaching, most of my free-time is spent writing articles for The Center Circle! Feel free to stalk me on Google+

 

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