Top-of-table turmoil leaves Premiership’s third place up for grabs
While the Manchester derby was understandably dominating the headlines at the start of this week, the top of the Barclays Premier League table has a few more tales to tell, besides the two-horse race for first place.
Look down as far as third, and there’s a last-gasp attempt from four different teams to secure the final place on the Premiership podium.
Heading into the derby, Arsenal were sitting a hefty 14 points behind second-placed Manchester City and just four above Tottenham Hotspur, who started the week with a game in hand.
By Wednesday, all the top teams should have played 36 matches of the season’s 38 and, with Chelsea meeting Newcastle at Stamford Bridge, at least one of the two should be all but out of the running for third place.
Arsenal’s four-point buffer could drop to one if Tottenham can prevail away at the Reebok Stadium, which also takes place on Wednesday; but with Bolton Wanderers battling for their Premiership survival, it’s not likely to be an easy contest either.
The dream scenario for Gunners fans would probably be a Spurs loss and a draw at Stamford Bridge, putting Newcastle three points behind Arsenal with two to play.
But, as the top of the table steals the limelight, there could still be a late twist among the teams fighting for the coveted Champions League and Europa League spots that come with a decent Barclays Premier League end-of-season placing.