The race for fourth place in the English Premier League heated up on Wednesday after Leicester City and Chelsea both lost, opening the door for in-form Manchester United.
Leicester City remains third despite a 2-1 defeat at Everton, while Chelsea stays fourth despite their 3-2 loss at West Ham United, two points ahead of Manchester United who won 3-0 at Brighton on Tuesday as well as Wolverhampton who defeated Aston Villa on Saturday.
Traditionally the top four qualifies for the UEFA Champions League but second-placed Manchester City’s European ban means the top five may qualify, although there is an impending UEFA appeal from City due to be confirmed on July 13, which creates doubt.
As a result, top four is the goal for all clubs around the mark, with seventh-placed Tottenham not out of the equation yet either, despite being seven points behind United and Wolves, with a game in hand against Sheffield United on Thursday.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard bemoaned his side’s missed opportunity
“We’ve had a fantastic season in many ways but the consistency we’re searching for shows you what we’ve got to do,” Lampard said.
“I would not call it a wake-up call, because every game is different. We have six games ahead of us now and this was not a huge surprise as if you play in the Premier League and you make mistakes, if you dominate possession but you don’t quite do enough with it in the top end of the pitch, then it can happen.
“We now have Watford at the weekend and games after that to try to carry on. We have to realise the position we are in in terms of fighting for the Champions League places and move forward.”
Leicester’s form is concerning for boss Brendan Rodgers, having seen his side win just twice in the league in their past 11 matches, having enjoyed a good buffer ahead of fourth previously.
“Thankfully, for how we performed for a good part of this season, its got us into a really strong position,” Rodgers said.
“Even though our form hasn’t been the best for a period now, we still have it in our hands to achieve what it is we (want), which will be a dream for us getting into that top four.
“We can only think about that once we get the performance level right, and since we’ve come back, we haven’t been able to consistently get that tempo.”
While Chelsea take on Watford this weekend, Leicester hosts midtable Crystal Palace, United entertains struggling Bournemouth and Wolves welcome Arsenal.