With the 27th week of the English Premier League underway, the groups both at the top and bottom of the standings aren’t set in stone, but there can only be a little moving and shaking between teams.
At the bottom, Queens Park Rangers, Burnley and Leicester City are currently in the relegation zone. QPR and Burnley have 22 points and Leicester has 18 points. Above them, the teams capable of possibly falling into that unwanted territory are Aston Villa, Sunderland, Hill and Everton. Everton is the furthest away from relegation with 28 points, Hull has 27, Sunderland 26 and Aston Villa has 25 and is within three points of being in that group.
At the top, Chelsea has a firm grip on first place with 63 points in 27 matches. Manchester City (58), Arsenal (54), Manchester United (53) and Liverpool (51) all have played 28 matches. Three of the next five Chelsea matches are easily winnable, with opponents Hull City, Stoke City and QPR on deck.
Teams that can sneak into the top five are Southampton and Tottenham. With Liverpool sitting at 51 points, Southampton trails by two with 49 and Spurs trail by four with 47. Stoke is a little further away at 42 points, and would be an incredible comeback story if they finished near the top.
The two games we’re focusing on in March is the March 15th clash between Chelsea and Southampton, and the March 22nd match between Liverpool and Manchester United. According to international ticket reseller Ticketbis, more than 30% of the Chelsea-Southampton sales have been international. Supporters from the United States, France and Denmark have bought the highest number of tickets. Almost a 30% of the Liverpool-Manchester United sales have been international. Supporters from Canada, Denmark and the United States have accounted for the highest amount of those sales.
A home win for Chelsea over Southampton would put some real separation between the two. As mentioned earlier, Southampton is one of the teams aiming to enter the top five. While a win would not necessarily vault Southampton to an unprecedented run to the top of the league table, a result against the top team in the league would give them a huge boost for the remaining weeks, knowing they can compete with any team. It could be a huge launching point for the last leg of Southampton’s season. The average price of tickets for theChelsea vs. Southampton match is $231 according to Ticketbis.
As of today, Manchester United is only two points above Liverpool and the two teams are fourth and fifth in the table respectively. It’s no secret that their March 22nd match will be an important swing for both teams. A draw would keep the trend line horizontal for each club, but a win for either side would have them looking up and trying to catch Arsenal next. For the loser, they would have a newfound worry of falling out of the top five if Southampton continues their strong play. This is a pivotal match for two teams in similar positions.
When March is over, the finish line of the EPL season should be a little clearer. But until then, teams still have plenty of work to do to secure their spots or would have to string together multiple quality performances to jump teams ahead of them.