The Premier League season of 2013-14 has given us a strange situation of clubs not wanting to finish fourth for the first time in many years, as the title race heats up.
It’s been a superbly competitive campaign, with four teams still battling for a chance of winning England’s highest division as we enter the final two months of the season.
But it’s a strange situation — as the aim will be to not finish fourth, rather than the usual conclusion to a season where at least two teams fight for that fourth and final Champions League spot. It may be a bit of a play on words, obviously all of the EPL clubs want to finish in the top four. But there isn’t that fight for it this year, as the top four seems all but confirmed.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City all have their sights not set on that golden first-place spot. Not since 2008-09, five years, have we seen a season where fourth and fifth place have had more than five points between them.
It’s a different situation, to see this focus no longer really on the fourth spot. But what a great one it is. The title is up for grabs. Man City are favorites with their three games in hand on leaders Chelsea, but the in-form and unstoppable Liverpool are chasing them. You cannot rule out Arsenal yet either, having shown the ability to lead the league already this season.
There could still be twists to allow Tottenham back into the fight for fourth, but it looks unlikely. And personally, it’s a nice change to see the focus all on a dramatic, open title fight that will surely last until the final day.