Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal continue their pursuit of a place in the Premier League top four today with matches against Watford, Huddersfield and Brighton that could decide whether the contenders play in the 2019/20 Champions League.
Champions League semi-finalists Tottenham spurned the opportunity to guarantee their place in the competition next season by losing 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday, giving Europa League final hopefuls Chelsea and Arsenal a chance of finishing third.
Sixth-placed Man Utd are five points behind Spurs and targeting maximum points in their two remaining Premier League fixtures to give themselves a chance of displacing Chelsea in the final Champions League spot.
Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri knows his players, who drew 1-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final on Thursday, need to recover quickly when they host a Watford side who could finish as high as seventh following an impressive Premier League season.
Arsenal are looking to end an unwelcome Premier League run of defeats at a critical time of the 2018/19 season when they welcome a Brighton side still searching for their first win since early March.
The Gunners have lost three in a row, including a surprise 3-2 setback against Palace in their previous fixture at the Emirates Stadium.
Coach Unai Emery will hope fifth-placed Arsenal can continue the form that saw them beat Valencia 3-1 on Thursday, putting themselves on course for the Europa League final.
Former Europa League winners Man United, meanwhile, will hope to recapture a semblance of form when they travel to rock-bottom Huddersfield with the ambition of a first win in eight.
“We have to play again 62 hours after our last game,” Sarri said. “But it’s up to us to recover mentally and have a very high level of motivation and confidence.
“It’s a dangerous match, of course. After 62 hours any opponent would be dangerous. It won’t be easy.
“In England, every match is a battle, and you risk paying for that. We spent physical and mental energy against Frankfurt.
“We will need to change some players in the starting 11. I don’t know how many, but I think four or five players.
“We have the top four in our hands, but we need to win the last matches.”
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Published at Sun, 05 May 2019 06:44:00 +0000