The Run-In: Analyzing the situation for each PL team

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With seven games to go in the Premier League, this is getting tense.

[ MORE: PW’s picks – Week 32

Bearing that in mind, here at ProSoccerTalk we thought it would be a good time to look at the final weeks of the season and the scenarios for each team.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Here’s “The Run-In” looking at the fortunes of all 20 teams and what could happen to them in the coming weeks.


Leicester City

Current position/points: 1st/66 points
Toughest game: at Man United, May 1 |  Full schedule
Most important player: N’Golo Kante – Sure, Vardy and Mahrez are massively important but Kante is the heartbeat. He must keep fit and drive them on to grind out points.
Most likely outcome: It would take a massive collapse for Leicester to not win this title now and they have the easiest schedule, on paper, of all three. Five points clear with seven games left, they are the Champions-elect. Remarkable story. Perhaps the best in PL history.


Tottenham Hotspur

Current position/points: 2nd/61 points
Toughest game: vs. Man United, April 10 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Harry Kane – With five goals in his last three PL outings, he’s red-hot. If he keeps it going, the title could be coming to the Lane.
Most likely outcome: Honestly, with the players they possess and their sterling defensive record, Spurs could sneak this. There’s one more twist left in this season… They have the tougher schedule.


Arsenal

Current position/points: 3rd/55 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: at Man City, May 7 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Alexis Sanchez – He’s the only man who can save Wenger from an almighty inquest this summer. Chilean must score more in the run-in.
Most likely outcome: 3rd. This really is a two-horse title race, but Arsenal can apply some pressure and see how inexperienced Spurs and Leicester handle it… Finishing second wouldn’t be a disastrous season but top four seems highly likely now.


Manchester City

Current position/points: 4th/51 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: vs. Arsenal, May 7 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Vincent Kompany – Captain and CB needs to stay fit otherwise City is in deep trouble
Most likely outcome: UCL qualification but if the recent slide continues, teams are queuing up to replace them.


West Ham United

Current position/points: 5th/50 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: at Leicester City, Apr. 17 | Full schedule
Most important player: Dimitri Payet – Mercurial playmaker must be at his best in final weeks for the Hammers to crack the top four.
Most likely outcome: Top six and Europa League qualification. Some tough games to finish with.


Manchester United

Current position/points: 6th/50 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: vs. Leicester, May 1 |  Full schedule
Most important player: David De Gea – They can continue to sneak 1-0 wins as long as De Gea continues to pull off stunning saves.
Most likely outcome: They will be right in the hunt for a top four spot until the final game of the season. This will be tight.


Southampton

Current position/points: 7th/47 points
Toughest game: at Tottenham, May 7 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Sadio Mane – If the Senegalese winger can stay hot, Saints can make a run at the top four. Seriously.
Most likely outcome: Another 7th place finish. Koeman’s men have three of the top four still to play.


Stoke City

Current position/points: 8th/46 points
Toughest game: vs. Tottenham, April 18 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Marko Arnautovic – The big Austrian has stopped scoring and needs to regain form in the final weeks.
Most likely outcome: It seems like a top six finish is well within Stoke’s reach. They have plenty of tough games left. 7-9th most likely.


Liverpool

Current position/points: 9th/44 points (played 29 games)
Toughest game: vs. Tottenham, April 2 | Full schedule
Most important player: Philippe Coutinho – He makes them tick and when he’s on his game, Liverpool win. Imperative they find him.
Most likely outcome: Probably outside the top six. Yes, they’ve games in hand but this season would always be tough. Believe in Klopp.


Chelsea

Current position/points: 10th/41 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: vs. Man City, April 16 | Full schedule
Most important player: Diego Costa – He’s back scoring goals and looks sharp but he must stay focused down the stretch.
Most likely outcome: At this point, top six would be miraculous. 8th would be the best possible outcome for the reigning champs.


West Bromwich Albion

Current position/points: 11th/39 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: at Arsenal & Spurs, April 21 & 25 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Gareth McAuley. The big Northern Irish center back has turned back the hands of time.
Most likely outcome: A very tough slate of games are coming, and manager Tony Pulis will be sure to batten down the hatches to make sure no entertainment comes anyone’s way. Call them 13th.


Everton

Current position/points: 12th/38 points (played 29 games)’
Toughest game: at Liverpool, April 20 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Ross Barkley. He does a bit of everything, and this year has really lived up to his potential.
Most likely outcome: The only team in this bunch that could challenge to finish top half, but also is focused on succeeding the semifinals of the FA Cup and beyond. 11th.


Bournemouth

Current position/points: 13th/38 points
Toughest game: at Man Utd, May 15  Full schedule
Most important player: Andrew Surman. The steady South African midfielder covers plenty of ground and has intangibles overflowing from whatever he uses to store intangibles.
Most likely outcome: Very difficult run home for the Cherries, who will struggle to keep up their recent pace.


Watford

Current position/points: 14th/37 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: at Arsenal, April 2 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Troy Deeney. The plaudits head Odion Ighalo‘s way more often, but Deeney’s hold-up play has created so many chances for the Hornets, and his leadership is valuable.
Most likely outcome: Around 13th-15th.


Swansea City

Current position/points: 15th/36 points
Toughest game: at Leicester City, April 24|  Full schedule
Most important player: Ashley Williams. The veteran back’s crunching tackles and keen reactions have saved Swans’ leaky defense more points than their performances deserve.
Most likely outcome: A relatively tricky run-in should have Swans finishing no more than a spot higher than their current position.


Crystal Palace

Current position/points: 16th/33 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game(s): at Arsenal & Man Utd, April 17 & 20 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Yannick Bolasie. As Yohan Cabaye fades, it’s up to Bolasie to supply electricity to the Palace attack.
Most likely outcome: Safe, though Palace remains winless in the Premier League since New Year’s Day.


Norwich City

Current position/points: 17th/28 points
Toughest game: at Arsenal, April 30 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Sebastien Bassong. The Cameroonian back is an important part of the Canaries defense, attack and possession game.
Most likely outcome: Norwich has the least quality of the bunch, but Alex Neil has the club grinding in every match. The two-point lead is nice, and the Canaries may know their fate in three weeks, as they face Newcastle, Palace and Sunderland, only the middle match away from Carrow Road.


Sunderland

Current position/points: 18th/26 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: vs. Arsenal, April 24|  Full schedule
Most important player: Jermain Defoe. The 33-year-old striker keeps bagging goals at important times. Given the way the Black Cats defend, he’s going to need to keep doing it.
Most likely outcome: Their January buys give them the quality to stay up, and Sam Allardyce has been through a relegation fight or two in his day. He’s also gotten his club into those battles though, so, comme ci, comme ca. We like their odds to go down.


Newcastle United

Current position/points: 19th/25 points (played 30 games)
Toughest game: at Southampton, April 9 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutch playmaker might be leading the Premier League in assists if Aleksandar Mitrovic and company had their finishing boots in order.
Most likely outcome: Rafa Benitez is a smart manager, one who gives them a fighting chance to go with their strong talent base. If they win at Norwich next week, they’ll be the favorites to stay up between Sunderland, Norwich and themselves. Staying up.


Aston Villa

Current position/points: Cooked 20th/16 points
Toughest game: at Arsenal, May 15 |  Full schedule
Most important player: Idrissa Gueye. He’s quietly been a solid all-around midfielder on a team lacking in talent. Look for him to get a move somewhere in the PL next season.
Most likely outcome: Down.

 

FA Cup roundup: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round (early) action…

[ MORE: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

West Ham United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

West Ham were the lone Premier League side to be knocked out by a lower-division side on Saturday, as David Moyes‘ side failed to find the back of the net and were beaten 1-0 by EFL Championship leaders West Brom.

Conor Townsend scored the game’s only goal in the 9th minute, and though the Hammers controlled possession the rest of the way, they created very little in terms of scoring chances and finished the game with just three shots on target. West Brom finished the game with 10 men, but West Ham could do nothing with their 18-minute advantage following Semi Ajayi‘s second yellow card in the 72nd minute.

Millwall 0-2 Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s dream season continued with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to Championship side Millwall. Both goals came inside the final half-hour, but the Blades were unquestionably the better side even before breaking the deadlock.

That came in the 62nd minute, when Muhamed Besic placed a stunning curler inside the far post for 1-0. Not long before full-time, in the 84th, Oliver Norwood drove his effort hard and low and into the corner to make it 2-0.

Burnley 1-2 Norwich City

Norwich and Burnley were largely inseparable for the majority of Saturday’s clash at Turf Moor, save for a four-minute period early in the second half in which Norwich scored twice and booked their place in the fifth round.

Grant Hanley made it 1-0 in the 53rd and Josip Drmic added to the advantage in the 57th minute. Erik Pieters pulled Burnley back to within a goal in the 73rd, but that’s as close as the Clarets would get.

FA Cup fourth-round scoreboard

Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur — FULL RECAP
Newcastle United 0-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 4-2 Barnsley
Coventry City 0-0 Birmingham City
Reading 1-1 Cardiff City

RB Leipzig beaten, Bundesliga title race thrown wide open

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BERLIN (AP) Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Bundesliga leader RB Leipzig 2-0 to throw the title race wide open on Saturday.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Frankfurt defender Almamy Toure scored a brilliant goal just after the break and Filip Kostic sealed the win in injury time to deal Leipzig its first defeat since a 2-1 loss at home to Freiburg in October.

Borussia Monchengladbach cut the gap at the top to two points with a 3-1 win at home over Mainz, thanks largely to goals in each half from French striker Alassane Plea.

Bayern Munich has the chance to cut the gap to one point with a win at home over Schalke in the late game.

[ FA CUP: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

Borussia Dortmund is just four points off the top after its 5-1 win over Cologne on Friday.

Also Saturday, Union Berlin defeated Augsburg 2-0 at home, Hertha Berlin came from behind to win 2-1 at Wolfsburg, and Paderborn moved off the bottom with a 2-0 win at Freiburg.

FA Cup: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay

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Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur played to a virtual stand-still for nearly 60 minutes before Jose Mourinho’s side broke through with a moment of true quality from Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso, but finished right back where they started after Saints hit back late to force a replay in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Prior to that, Lo Celso put the ball in the back of the net and briefly thought it was he who had put Spurs ahead, but the Argentine was denied his third Spurs goal on the basis that the ball hit Son on its way through traffic, and the South Korean was in an offside position.

Spurs’ best chance of the first half chance came and went just minutes later, with Lucas Moura in disbelief and Angus Gunn the hero of the moment. Dele Alli played Lucas into open space inside the penalty area and, with the goal gaping to Gunn’s left and right, Lucas looked to place his right-footed shot inside the far post. Gunn was up to the challenge, though, and pulled off a sensational left-footed save from close range.

Seconds later, Saints had a surefire scoring chance and were denied in equally spectacular fashion. Danny Ings used his chest to control a free kick into the box and looped it goal-bound over the head of Hugo Lloris, only for Japhet Tanganga to make the last-second headed clearance in front of an open net.

[ MORE: Mourinho in favor of PL’s winter break, but says timing all wrong ]

Saints were the first to go ever so close to a goal in the second half. Michael Obafemi crossed from the right side and found Ings inside the six-yard box, where he redirected the ball ever so slightly, but not enough, to send it inches wide of Lloris’ right-hand post.

Following a spell that was all Saints to start the second half, Spurs broke the deadlock through Son in the 58th minute. Lo Celso drove through the heart of Southampton’s midfield before playing the ball to Son near the top of the 18-yard box. He took a touch to set up the shot and fired a left-footed arrow inside the far post.

The lead lasted just shy of 30 minutes, close but not quite over the finish line. With 87 minutes on the clock and a full head of steam over the preceding quarter-hour, Southampton got their hugely deserved equalizer. Sofiane Boufal arrived near the top of the box as Ings’ cut-back ball arrived and the Moroccan international hammered it home.

The two sides will meet again for their fourth-round replay in two weeks at the Tottenham Hotspur. The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

LIVE, FA Cup 4th round: Spurs visit Southampton in all-PL tie

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The fourth round of the FA Cup is set to get into full swing at 10 a.m. ET, with eight ties kicking off simultaneously, including a pair of all-Premier League clashes.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

Southampton host Tottenham Hotspur in the premier matchup of the time slot, with Jose Mourinho desperate for Cup success amid a difficult run of results at Tottenham. Elsewhere, Burnley will host Norwich City at Turf Moor. Fellow PL sides West Ham United, Newcastle United and Sheffield United are also in action.

Check the schedule of fixtures below, and hit the link above to follow along with the scores and results. As always, check back on PST for recaps and a roundup of all the action.

Saturday’s FA Cup schedule (all games at 10 a.m. ET, unless otherwise noted)

Southampton v. Tottenham Hotspur
Burnley v. Norwich City
West Ham United
v. West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United v. Oxford United
Millwall v. Sheffield United
Portsmouth v. Barnsley
Coventry City v. Birmingham City
Reading v. Cardiff City
Hull City v. Chelsea — 12:30 p.m. ET