West Ham are well on course to qualify for the Champions League.
We are having an absolutely remarkable season and the 3-2 win over Wolves on Monday night means that they are currently one point clear of Chelsea in fifth, and three clear of both Spurs and Liverpool.
They play Leicester this weekend and a win would move the Irons within a point of Leicester in third.
Assuming Manchester United are set to qualify for the Champions League – they are nine points clear of Chelsea – there are six teams vying for two spots.
We’re also claiming that Aston Villa are too far behind the Hammers to be in the conversation – they are eight points back – so we’re going to examine the run-ins of Leicester, the Irons, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, and Everton, although Carlo Ancelotti’s men dropped points against Crystal Palace on Monday.
Here we go…
Leicester: West Ham (A), West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (H), Southampton (A), Newcastle (H), Man United (A), Chelsea (A), Spurs (H).
Irons: Leicester (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H), Burnley (A), Everton (H), Brighton (A), WBA (A), Saints (H).
Chelsea: Palace (A), Brighton (H), West Ham (A), Fulham (H), Man City (A), Arsenal (H), Leicester (H), Villa (A).
Spurs: Man United (H), Everton (A), Southampton (H), Sheffield United (H), Leeds (A), Wolves (H), Villa (H), Leicester (A).
Liverpool: Villa (H), Leeds (A), Newcastle (H), Man United (A), Southampton (H), WBA (A), Burnley (A), Palace (H)
Everton: Spurs (H), Arsenal (A), Villa (H), West Ham (A), Sheffield United (H), Wolves (H), Man City (A).
So, on a base level, Liverpool have the easiest run-in.
Looking at the league positions of the opponents, they have an average position of 12.25 in the table, but the Hammers’ run-in is a very close second, with an average of 12th.
Liverpool only play two teams in the top ten – Villa and Man United – while the Hammers play three: Leicester, Chelsea, and Everton. Both sides play Newcastle and West Brom, who are each in relegation trouble.
Next up is Spurs, with an average position of 10th, but there are some banana skins there, particularly playing United and Everton back-to-back, and also facing Leicester on the final day.
Leicester and Chelsea both have tough-looking run-ins, not least because the Foxes play United, Chelsea, and Spurs in succession to end the season. Chelsea and Everton are the only teams to play Man City, while the Blues, also take on the Hammers.
For Everton, they have by far the toughest run-in – just two of their opponents between now and the end of the season are in the bottom half and they play City on the final day.
It’s pretty safe, then, to rule the Toffees out, unless they go on a miracle run.
In terms of the opponents they play, we should also look at how many points each team have taken from the corresponding fixtures.
Amazingly, despite having the easiest run-in, Liverpool rank lowest on that scale, taking just nine points from their opponents.
Then it’s Chelsea, with 13, the Hammers, with 14, and Everton with 15.
Leicester have taken 17 points from their opponents and win out – only the Hammers, of their remaining opponents, have beaten them this season.
Spurs are second with 16 points taken; their defeats came against Everton and Leicester, while they also drew with Wolves.
All to play for!
With the run-in as it is, and the Hammers’ history of taking good results from their remaining opponents, we have to hold out hope for a historic end to the season.