Despite the fact that Liverpool now look odds on for 4th and we don't look as good as some of the other top 4 wannabies, I still think the challenge for 4th is still on. We draw level if we win our game in hand, although as we play Man Utd on Wednesday, Citeh have Bolton and Spuds have Wolves we may be a bit further off.
Liverpool have Arsenal though and even if Arsenal lost today you'd fancy them against Pool at the Emirates.
The next 6 fixtures will be crucial for all of the top 4 challengers and I summarise them below:
- Villa: Man Utd (H), Burnley (H), Sunderland (H), Stoke (A), Wigan (A), Wolves (H)
- Citeh: Bolton (H), Stoke (A), Liverpool (H), Chelsea (A), Spuds (H), Fulham (A)
- Spuds: Wolves (A), Wigan (A), Everton (H), Citeh (A), Blackburn (H), Stoke (A)
- Pool: Arsenal (A), Citeh (A), Blackburn (H), Wigan (A), Portsmouth (H), Man Utd (A)
I'd expect us to pick up 13-15 points from those 5 games - anything else and we're not good enough for the top 4. With Citeh, Pool and Spuds playing each other and some of the top 3 teams it could work in our favour. It still looks close though and I think if we picked up those points we might only be ahead of the pack by 3 points. Citeh have 2 games in hand and that could work in there favour.
After this we all have a fixture of mid/lower-table fixtures. In those remaining fixtures we go to Stamford Bridge and Eastlands, Citeh host United (and Villa) and go to the Emirates, Spuds host Arsenal and go to Chelsea and United in 3 consecutive games and Liverpool host Chelsea.
Looking at those fixtures there's a good chance we could snatch it, but I think it could still go any way. Spuds should have taken 6 points of Villa this season and we do seem unable to take our chances upfront.
Anyway, some food for though on a Sunday afternoon.