CHELSEA’S BID FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION

After a three-month pause, the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League and the subsequent reward of Champions League football next season is back on. Here, we look at the contenders, their restart fortunes and their remaining fixtures…

Following a combination of results on game week 31, including our victory over Manchester City, Liverpool were crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years.

Frank Lampard's side closed the gap on City in second (to nine points) and Leicester City in third (to one point), while maintaining a five-point advantage over chasers Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in fifth and sixth. The Blues are now as close to Pep Guardiola's side as we are to Tottenham.

However, with seven games remaining, there are still a number of teams who still harbour hopes of a late rally towards Champions League qualification.

There is also the added uncertaintly over City's contested ban from European competition for two seasons due to alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations, with a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on City's appeal expected next month. For now, the contenders must assume that only a top-four finish guarantees Champions League football next season.

Plenty still to play for, then, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!

Contender clashes

Encounters between teams in the top half of the table will likely play a significant part in deciding the final standings. Frank Lampard’s side now have four such meetings in their final seven games, including trips to Anfield, Selhurst Park and Bramall Lane, as well as a home match against Wolves.

The latter is scheduled for what could be a decisive final day of the season, on which Man United go to Leicester.

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