THE Premier League season is nearing its end, but there is still an enormous amount to play for in the remaining games.
With Manchester City and Arsenal fighting it out for the title and a tight relegation battle it is easy to look past what is an enthralling race to finish in the Champions League places.
There are still two spots up for grabs with five teams doing their utmost to secure one of them.
Only 10 points separate third place Newcastle and seventh place Brighton ahead of the final run-in for the European hunters.
With such a tight battle and so little left of the season we take a look at each club’s run-in to see who faces the toughest test in their push to play amongst Europe’s elite.
Newcastle have exceeded all expectations with Eddie Howe at the helm and find themselves in pole position as the top four race kicks into gear.
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However they had their confidence knocked after a 2-0 home loss to Arsenal in their most recent game.
The Magpies’ remaining fixtures are relatively kind with games against relegation candidates Leeds and Leicester as well as a trip to struggling Chelsea, who having just secured their safety will have very little to play for.
Perhaps the hardest fixture for the Tyneside club is a visit from fellow Champions League competitors Brighton who have been in electric form since the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi.
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DIFFICULTY RATING – 5/10
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Erik ten Hag’s side seemed all but guaranteed to finish in the top four earlier in the season with talk of a title charge on the cards.
But The Red Devils failed to continue their red hot form and weren’t able to keep up the pace with City and Arsenal.
They took a Hammer blow to their Champions League chances after a 1–0 loss away to West Ham last time out, but will take confidence from their upcoming fixtures.
Man U only have one away trip in their remaining four games as they travel to the south coast to face the Cherries who already find themselves on the beach sitting nine points clear of relegation.
As for their home games they welcome Wolves, Chelsea and Fulham to Old Trafford.
On current form United will feel their fixtures all look winnable, but with Liverpool hot on their tails they’ll need to ensure they don’t allow any complacency to creep in.
DIFFICULTY RATING – 5/10
Liverpool only have three games remaining and will be able to enjoy a week’s break between each fixture as a result.
The Reds start their run-in with a trip to Leicester who they narrowly beat at home after a Wout Faes double own-goal.
Klopp’s side have been atrocious away from home this season winning just five of their 17 games on the road in the league.
They will be relieved to know the toughest of their remaining three fixtures is at home when they host Aston Villa on May 20.
The Merseyside club finish their campaign with a trip to Southampton who barring a miracle will have already been relegated.
It’s three very kind fixtures for Klopp and Co, but they will have to pick up all nine points to pile the pressure on to Man United in fourth.
DIFFICULTY RATING – 4/10
Spurs have had a torrid season, not least because of the success of their North London rivals.
They currently sit six points off the top four places and have played a game more than fourth place Man United.
Ryan Mason will need to pull off something special if they’re to turn their season around and secure Champions League football next season.
Their fixtures don’t look too daunting, but with a trip to in Villa Park and hosting the ever-difficult Brentford they have two sticky games to navigate next.
They finish the season with an away day at Elland Road up against a Leeds United side under Sam Allardyce who will likely be fighting for their lives in front of their famously loud fans.
DIFFICULTY RATING – 6/10
Nobody in the league has played less games than Brighton so far with the Seagulls still having six games to play in the remaining three weeks.
The tight schedule will likely prove hard work for De Zerbi and his players alongside what looks to be the hardest group of fixtures of anyone else in the battle for top four.
Brighton could completely change the direction of the title race as they face both Man City and Arsenal in the coming weeks.
They also go away to Aston Villa and Newcastle in what will prove to be really tricky match-ups for the team sat in seventh.
Despite hosting both Southampton and Everton during their run-in it seems that the tight schedule and number of big clashes leaves De Zerbi’s men with the toughest challenge to be playing Champions League football next season.
DIFFICULTY RATING – 8/10
The run-in is too close to call and with European nights being the prize at the end of the tunnel it is nearly impossible to guess who will come out on top.
A supercomputer has predicted the way the league might end up with Newcastle and Man Utd holding firm and remaining in the top four at the conclusion of the season.
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