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EPL: Forget title race, watch out for the race to elusive Champions League spot
Manchester United with 71 points are well on course for their 20th top flight league football win in England, unless Manchester United loses four to five matches in their remaining 10 games, which is highly improbable.

They have only lost three matches during the season. The second best team in the EPL is Manchester City who are 14 points adrift of the champions. Hence, it is not the title race, which is gathering more interest, but the race for the third and the fourth spot. Teams that finish in this spot would have a chance of playing in the UEFA Champions League – elite club competition across Europe.

The fight for the champions league has always been given prime importance by clubs across Europe and with four spots up for grabs from the English Premier League, the fight is one of the best for obvious reasons. Just being a participant in the Champions League helps the team make huge revenues through participant fee (around €7.2m in the 2010 -11 season excluding bonus), TV rights, performance bonus, etc. Apart from this, these clubs also get a chance to compete against the best of the best clubs around the world and earn a name for themselves as well. Big players also prefer to play for clubs that are playing in the Champions League.

The race for the elusive Champions League spot in the EPL might not have been tighter ever before for a simple reason - with the number of teams vying for it this season. Teams such as Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton all stand a chance with Tottenham and Chelsea being the favourites with 54 and 52 points respectively. But the other teams in the fray are also not far behind with Arsenal (47), Liverpool and Everton (45).

Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool have nine matches remaining for the season, while the other three teams have ten. The competition has moved into the business end, where each team needs to win their respective matches and hold on to their chances of Champions League qualification. A slip up by either Chelsea or Tottenham would be taken advantage of by other teams and it is only going to add pressure on such teams. Best of the best team's crumble under pressure.

Liverpool are considered to be the dark horses for the champions league spot with their current form, where they have come up with a string of impressive performances backed with huge wins against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur. It is not only their winning performances, but also their margin of victory, which has led their team to be a dark horse. Many experts also claim Liverpool is playing the best football in the Premier League. Their track record in the EPL since November supports their claim, where they have only been bettered by Tottenham and Manchester United.

With Tottenham in the upsurge recently, teams are aware of their dream to play in the Champions League, like other EPL clubs. They have been a huge threat to the top three clubs for some time now and their standing on the table (3rd) is testimonial to the fact of their relentless aim to play Champions league football. If they continue with their consistent form, it would be impossible to dislodge the team from top class football in Europe next season.

Chelsea, in their last six EPL fixtures have lost, drawn and won twice respectively. Their record, this time of the season does not auger well. They need to bag more points to stay anywhere close to Champions League football next season. It would be a major disappointment, if the 2011/2012 champions of UEFA Champions League fail to qualify. Arsenal on the other hand have an impressive record of late, winning four out of the last six games. But they have not been the Arsenal as we know - a dominant force.

They have won smaller clubs with 1-0 margins and drew or lost against bigger teams such as Liverpool (2-2) and Chelsea (1-2). Thus a fear linger on the minds of the Arsenal fans, as they still have to play tough games against Manchester United, Everton and Newcastle United. Both these teams if they slip up in the coming fixtures, the race will only get more interesting.

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