In the 2012-13 English Premier League season, the battle for fourth place is far more interesting than any struggle to win the league. With two months to go in the season, Manchester United, led by the incomparable Sir Alex Ferguson, sits 12 points ahead of their nearest challenger, Manchester City, and shows no signs of slowing down. City is last year’s champion and has continued moving forward, but has not been able to keep up with United’s pace. United has some of the best pure scorers in the league, including Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Having essentially locked down their 12th Premier League title, the club may turn to the Champions League struggle as their primary pursuit.
The top four teams in the Premier League in terms of point values — teams receive three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss — are eligible to compete in the UEFA Champions League next season. The race for that fourth and final spot is a tight one, and could be determined in the final matches of the year. Chelsea F.C., the current fourth-place holder, has faltered considerably since interim manager Rafa Benitez took the helm. A lack of timely scoring and a series of losses to sub-par opponents, including the last place Queens Park Rangers, have made the end of this season a stressful experience for the team and its supporters. Just last week, the Blues were leap-frogged by the Tottenham Hotspur in the league tables. Tottenham now has 51 points to Chelsea’s 49.
Arsenal is within two points of a crucial fourth place finish in a season in which the club has struggled to find the spark they need. Arsène Wenger’s Gunners seem to lack any sort of significant scoring or leadership touches after selling star player Robin Van Persie to United earlier this season for a staggering £25 million. 21 year-old Jack Wilshere has become the leader of the squad based on skill alone, but lacks the experience to captain the team effectively. Despite the distractions Arsenal has had to endure, the team is still certainly within striking distance of a Champions League berth. Everton is only seven points back and could compete for the spot with a lengthy run of victories.
The end of the Premier League season may not be tense in the traditional sense, but the necessity for these big-market teams to secure a Champions League berth should lead to an epic fight to the finish.
Chris Marcotrigiano is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.
- Weekend Roam: Little Germany
- WSN Editorial Board reflects on spring semester events
- Strawberry Festival promises delicious, intergalactic fun
- Clive Davis Institute collaborates with DJ Swivel
- Best places to dine on dumplings
- 'Heroes' is not super enough for Xbox Live film program launch
- NYU SLAM sees victory through 'badidas' campaign
- Victoria Ettore elected student council president
- Hester Street Fair hosts diverse vendors, delicious food